Texas Hold'em Betting Rules How to Bet in Texas Hold'em

[Rule clarification request] Can you bet twice on the river card in Texas Hold em? As in are there two rounds of betting on the river?

Having a dispute, clarification is warranted and appreciated.
*Edit: thanks for the immediate responses people! This is my first time in this subreddit, and I knew Reddit would come through with the quickness.
submitted by LitAFartOnce to poker [link] [comments]

At the Holy Grail Casino, you gamble with a lot more than money

"King-high diamond flush," I said boldly as I laid my cards out on the table.
Despite my strong hand, my heart still thumped in my chest as I waited for the only other player in the hand to reveal his cards. Although my odds of winning were good, I was nervous. If my opponent had the ace...
"Ace-high diamond flush," my train of thought was disrupted and heart my sank. My opponent had the goddamn ace.
Unlike any other time I had played Texas Hold 'Em at a casino, I had no idea what to expect. See, I wasn't at a normal casino. I was at the Holy Grail Casino, where one does not gamble with money.
My opponent had wagered a finger, and I thought that that had been some colloquial way of making a small bet. Just as we frequently say "an arm and a leg" figuratively for an exorbitant cost, I thought that 'finger' was being used in the same context. I was proven brutally wrong when the dealer, without a hint of emotion, pulled a large knife out from some concealed location and chopped my pinky finger off.
I screamed, both in pain and disbelief. I had been expecting the most intense gambling experience of a life time, but I hadn't imagined anything of this magnitude.
I had finally found a form of gambling even I balked at.
I'll come clean and say it, I'm a compulsive gambler. I've had an enduring fixation on Lady Luck as early as I can remember. As a child, I loved making bets - even small and petty ones - with my peers.
When I was eighteen, and had my first job, I squandered a bigger portion of my very first paycheck than I care to admit on scratch-off lottery tickets.
With my addictive proclivities, I ignored the glaring net financial loss that this incurred, instead gravitating to the mere twenty dollars I did win with those tickets.
Now you can tell me that my gambling winnings are heavily outweighed by my losses over the years, and you'd be right. It's a stubborn fact that cannot be truthfully denied.
But it didn't matter to me. I was addicted to gambling. I was always convinced that the big, life-changing win I needed was right around the corner. It is this lifelong habit that has not only brought about a life of financial strain, but which, I fear, has brought about my imminent appointment with my own mortality.
You see, my gambling problem reached its zenith last year after I cajoled one of my poker friends, Dallas, into taking me to a secretive and high-stakes casino that he frequently spoke of, and this is as good a place as any to begin telling what happened.
"So, is this the night you're finally going to accede and tell me more about the mythical 'high stakes venue' you claim to frequent, Mr. Big Shot?" I asked my friend Dallas.
Dallas was a pro at gambling. At least, he swept the floor with the competition nine times out of ten and the backroom card games we frequented.
Dallas groaned loudly in the passager seat.
"Come on bro," I said doggedly, "you can't just set something up on a pedestal like this and not expect someone to persist."
"I don't know man. This isn't kitty shit. This is the big leagues." Dallas answered.
"I'm not a lightweight." I objected.
"No...but this is way more than anything we'd ever bet back there," he said, referring to our backroom games, one of which we had just left.
"This is the real shit. Hard-fucking-core. This is the most hardcore gambling around." Dallas continued.
"Like what, Russian Roulette?" I joked.
"Nah man." Dallas said cryptically.
"Look man, I give you rides to these games every week. You owe me." I was getting seriously annoyed at his reticence.
"Fine," Dallas groaned, exasperated.
I couldn't believe it. I had actually worn him down!
"But I'm warning you. This is serious shit." Dallas said sternly.
"I want to go." I said firmly.
Dallas reached into his wallet and handed me a medallion.
Upon inspection, I saw one side was affixed with the design of an ornate, bejeweled chalice with the words 'Holy Grail Casino' written above it. On the other side, written in elegant calligraphy was the phrase 'omnem marmora' - "all the marbles" in Latin.
This certainly bore the look of a ritzy and exclusionary place. I had a feeling I'd either win the jackpot of jackpots or end up homeless on the street. The reality would prove much worse than the latter.
Dallas was looking at me oddly, almost as if he was worried. But he could tell he wasn't going to be able to talk me out of it. I still hate him for his acquiescence to my pestering.
"When can we go?" I asked excitedly.
"I was planning to go tomorrow-," Dallas started.
"When I should I pick you up?" I interrupted.
"That's...not how we get there." Dallas answered.
"What-," I started, but it was Dallas' turn to interrupt.
"When you go to bed tomorrow night, write your full name on a piece of paper, then put it and the medallion in your pocket when you go to sleep."
I looked at him incredulously. Had he been fucking with me this whole time?
"Look...just trust me. Either do it or don't, but that's how you get there." Dallas said matter-of-factly.
I looked silently at the road as we neared the place where Dallas lived. Dallas seemed to be pensively looking out the window, as if he was debating whether or not he should have give me the medallion.
I dropped Dallas off without a word and raced home. I don't know why I was such a hurry - I guess I wanted to start waiting for tomorrow night as soon as possible.
After a torturous day of waiting, the next night finally came. Remembering Dallas' instructions, I wrote my full name on a slip of paper and placed it, along with the medallion, in the pockets of my sweatpants that I was wearing to bed for that purpose.
I could have sworn that I had heard my name being chanted as I drifted off to sleep, but the authenticity of those sounds is still ambiguous. What is not ambiguous is the fact that, shortly after falling asleep, I found myself in an opulent red-carpeted casino.
I was in a lobby of sorts, at least I think that's what it was. I was in a large, marble room with Greco-Roman style columns flanking a plush red carpet that led to two magnificent ebony doors, which boasted intricately carved ivory handles.
As I was soaking in the amazing luxurious sight, a man in a suit briskly approached me.
"You can't go to the floor dressed like that!" He admonished me, pointing to my sweatpants and white t-shirt.
"I'm sorry-," I began sluggishly, a bit confused by everything. Was I honestly expected to go to bed in a suit in order to gamble here?
"No worries sir," the man had a rather upper class accent, "we will get you outfitted here free of charge."
A short while later I was sporting a fine burgundy suit, a white dress shirt, and black loafers, and being led by the casino worker back to those grandiose doors. He stopped in front of them, held one of the doors open, and ushered me in.
"Enjoy your stay sir," he said as he closed the door behind me.
I took in the even more impressive sight that was the gambling floor. I stood at the top of a red-carpeted staircase with gilded railing, looking down at a large room. On the far end, the words 'Holy Grail Casino' were displayed prominently on the wall, illuminated by spotlights.
Like the lobby, a red carpet ran through the center, bisecting the impressive layout of games and tables. Interestingly, there didn't appear to be any slot machines- there seemed to be exclusively traditional games. Poker tables, blackjack tables, roulette wheels, and craps tables I all recognized.
Finally, I descended the stairs. The patrons and staff paid me little attention as I set foot on the floor. I briefly scanned the floor for Dallas but saw no saw no sign of him.
I shrugged and decided to jump into the games. All around me, finely dressed patrons were engrossed in their games, and others stood to the side, nursing cocktail glasses or puffing on cigars.
I had never had much of an affinity for roulette or craps, and I avoided blackjack like the plague (it's definitely rigged for the house). Accordingly, I quickly settled on poker.
After eyeing several tables I settled on a table occupied by just one patron - an uninterested old man in a black suit.
"Can I join here?" I asked.
The dealer replied affirmatively.
I sat down and noticed there were no chips in sight. I thought it had been odd that I hadn't received any, but I had just figured they would be given at the table. Curious, I asked.
"First time?" The dealer raised an eyebrow.
"Yes."
The old man sighed, annoyed. What the hell? Shouldn't a patron at such a purportedly high-stakes venue be eager to have fresh meat?
"Well, the rules state that one's first game is one round of betting only." The dealer said in a monotone voice. No wonder old man was annoyed.
I nodded and sat down.
"But the chips-," I began to inquire.
"We don't use 'em here." The old man spoke for the first time.
Before I ask what we did use, the old man placed what would apparently be the sole bet of this hand: a finger.
Had I heard him right? He couldn't actually mean-
"Bet is one finger." The dealer said, interrupting my thoughts.
As I stated in the beginning, I assumed that 'a finger' was being used in the same figurative context that one often uses the term 'an arm and a leg.' I called the bet.
The cards were dealt, and I felt confident as I laid out the King-high flush I spoke of in the beginning. But then came the old man's ace-high flush, and then came the chop.
I screamed. To my shock, none of the other patrons even looked up from their games at the sound of my screams and the chop. Was this an ordinary occurrence?
Before I could get up from the table, the dealer also procured some sort of ointment and quickly dabbed some on the nub where my finger had been. The bleeding instantly stopped, and the pain eased, but I was having none of it. I got up from the table and began to run back to the doors. This was too much. I had to get out of here.
I heard a despaired howl coming from the direction of the roulette wheels as I made it back to the center of the floor, but didn't dare look back at the source. I stepped onto the carpet and set for the stairs when I nearly collided with Dallas.
"Hey you made it!" He said. "Oooh tough break with the finger," he indicated my hand.
"How have you never lost anything?!" I asked pointedly, barely resisting the urge to shake his shoulders.
"Well I have," Dallas smirked.
"You-you have all your digits." I sputtered.
"Well that's cause I won them back." He said.
"You can win them back?!" I was in disbelief.
"Of course, they'll reattach it if you win one."
I should have just cut my losses. I shouldn't have been swayed by temptation. But if you know the rabbit hole that is gambling, you'll know how much people put themselves in the hole vainly trying to win back a negligible loss, all the while turning that negligible loss into something substantial.
I was still weighing my options (stay or quit while still ahead) when a booming voice disrupted my deliberation.
"Attention floor! We have a class ten loser! Death!"
He couldn't actually mean-
Before I could make any kind of move, the patrons become a mob, and the wave people pushed Dallas and I to the center with them.
A man, who I noticed was already missing an arm, was on his knees sobbing. An emotionless casino dealer stood before him, holding a sword.
"Everyone c-cut y-your loss-losses," the man stuttered through sobs.
Before he could say anything else, the sobs were cut off by the slice of the sword, and the poor man's head hit the floor and tumbled, landing at my feet.
submitted by Clarkinator69 to nosleep [link] [comments]

At the Holy Grail Casino, you gamble with a lot more than money. Part 2/Final

Part 1:https://www.reddit.com/nosleep/comments/ibnwx5/at_the_holy_grail_casino_you_gamble_with_a_lot/
My jaw dropped open and I took several short-circuited breaths as the head stopped just shy of my feet.
Honestly, I'm surprised I didn't scream or vomit. Next to me, Dallas was completely unfazed.
I had to get out of here. To hell with my finger, this was too much. I turned to leave, pushing my way through the crowd of people.
Nobody tried to stop me. Dallas didn't seem to react to my attempted departure either.
As I made it through the crowd, and began sprinting towards the exit, I heard a loud, deafening sound. The sound of a clock striking the next hour. A cacophony of excited murmurs ensued behind me as I made it to the unyielding doors.
"Let me out! I need to get out of here!" I banged desperately on the doors.
"You can't. Not right now." I heard Dallas say behind me.
"Why not?" I asked frantically, turning to face him.
"The Masters of the Casino are here. Gambling is compulsory until they leave."
"No," I weakly sobbed.
"You may as well try to win your finger back," Dallas said gently. "I'm going to play some poker. Care to join my table?"
I didn't want to play poker. I really didn't. While it was typically my game of choice, the present circumstances were far from typical. I was no longer protected by the one-bet-only rule now that I had played my first hand, and I knew that, with all the successive betting, my predicament could quickly get out of control if I played poker.
"No thanks man. I think I'll find a different game."
Dallas nodded.
I sighed, and, regaining my composure, descended the stairs. All around me, patrons were engaged in the now mandatory games - no longer was anyone leisurely sipping a cocktail or enjoying a cigar.
The only ones not gambling were the four entities in the middle of the floor. As I walked along the carpet, I got a better look at them. They were utterly terrifying, devoid of any discernable trace of humanity. At least, what little of them I could see was.
They were clad in identical, elegant robes, with their faces concealed by cowls. Inside those cowls, yellow eyes stared back at me. And while their lower extremities were completely concealed by their robes, inhuman, twisted hands protruded from their sleeves. They were gray and looked to be of an organic material, but in shape they resembled tree branches more than hands.
"Play." One of them hissed icily at me.
I quickly nodded, terrified, and settled on roulette. Even though I had shunned it earlier, I now felt it to be my safest option. For one thing, I could control the betting. I wouldn't have to contend with any extreme bets from the other patrons, and I could bide my time until this involuntary gambling ended.
I approached a wheel, nodding at the gaunt casino worker there.
"Your bet sir?" He asked calmly.
"A finger." I said hesitantly.
As the man nodded, I realized what luck this was. This roulette wheel had no numbers! I literally had a 50-50 shot of winning back my digits and being whole again. I had never heard of such a wheel, but I wasn't about to look a gift horse in the mouth.
"Black please." I said to the man.
"One finger on black," the man said as he set the game in motion.
I watched tensely as the ball rounded and slowed. Red. My heart sank.
More pain ensued as the man, much like that first dealer, removed my ring finger.
I cried out and fell to my knees. I struggled to get back up in between pained sobs. Gambling was still mandatory, and I did not want to anger those foul beings. I would just keep betting on black at the roulette wheel. Eventually I'd be whole again. It only took one win after all.
"Two fingers on black." I placed my bet.
"Very good sir." The Casino man said.
Red again. God fucking dammit.
More blinding pain. A pitiful, weak voice of mine bet four fingers through clenched teeth. Black.
It landed on black! Sweet merciful Jesus I was whole again!
Fascinated, I watched as the man procured four fingers from his coat pocket and somehow reattached them.
I gratefully rubbed my regenerated flesh as I left the wheel. If I could just blend in with the crowd until the Masters left, I would be in the clear. I could leave with my body whole and never return to this godforsaken place.
But I wouldn't get so lucky. After about ten minutes of attempting to be a wallflower, I was spotted by a poker dealer. I was clearly guilty of idling, and he knew it. I had two choices, he said. Play at his table or answer to the Masters.
I chose the former, and, as I sat down at the table, realized Dallas was there. And he was missing a hand.
It was just Dallas and one other when I joined, and this three player game quickly escalated. It was clear that this hand was all or nothing. Horrible as it was to be pitted against my friend, it was him or me. And damn straight I was choosing myself.
Soon, the betting had led to us all having, literally, our necks on the line. Somehow, I had ended up having my head on the line. Losing was not an option. It was no option for any of the three of us, but I was determined to win. But so was Dallas. And in his steadfast desire to live, he showed depths of depravity I would have never deemed him capable of.
"I'm upping the stakes. Death by immolation," Dallas proclaimed as the turn (for those who don't know, that's the fourth card in Texas Hold Em) was revealed.
I couldn't believe it, but the dealer blandly restated the bet as if nothing of note had happened.
"What the fuck Dallas?!" I screamed, completely shaken. "Death is already on the line!"
"I don't want to die buddy." Dallas said. "And I don't want you to die either. But, barring the unlikely event of a tie, two of us - and therefore you or I - will die after this hand. But there are many ways to die, and decapitation is much better than burning to death. If your cards are shit you need to seriously consider it. I feel pretty confident about my hand. How about you?"
I was terrified, both at Dallas' villainous monologue and the terrifying prospects that I faced. My nerves nearly failed. I very nearly folded and took the easy death (if you fold you forfeit what you have previously bet - in this case my head), but I called the bet with a quivering voice.
My nerves were apparently stronger than the third player. He sobbed at his dilemma before folding. Poor bastard. He was taken away from the table to be beheaded as the dealer prepared to reveal the river (the final card).
I braced myself. There were a couple things of note out of the four cards: three spades (possible flush for Dallas if he had two spades) and a ten. The ten was of note because I had two tens. Three of a kind would lose to a flush, but four of a kind would prevail and save my life.
After great inner suspense, the last card was revealed. I couldn't believe it! It was the ten! I was saved. My luck had saved me when it mattered the most.
"There's not much more to wager Dallas. I check." I said.
"Up to the Gods then? Fine." Dallas said, showing me a flush.
"Sorry Dallas. Four tens." I revealed my hand.
Dallas was shaking, hyperventilating even. I was too. I took no joy in my own survival. I was sorry then, and I still am.
I was sorry as I, along with many other spectators, watched Dallas get bound and set on fire. It should have been me there. I had hounded him incessantly into inviting me to the damn place. His agonized screams, and the smell of his burning flesh, will stay with me until the day I die - which probably won't be long.
As Dallas entered his death throes, the clock-like sound struck again - apparently signifying the end of the mandatory gambling period. We were free to leave. I was free to leave.
Dejected at the horrors I witnessed, and profoundly guilty at the hand I had in my friend's death, I began to mozy towards the exit - only to be stopped by some unseen force.
As many of the patrons filed out, the telekinetic force that had me in its grasp spun me around. I gasped. I was staring right at the Masters, and even though their faces were hidden, it was clear that they were angry with me.
"You...didn't play." One said accusingly.
My heart thumped rapidly as I said that I had played, and asked that I please be allowed to leave now.
"You didn't for a few minutes." Another one responded.
Shit. I was fucked.
"The Master Die." The first one said.
I watched in horror as on of them procured a large die and rolled it. By the looks of it, nothing nice was in store for me. I suppose the best description of the die I can offer is to say that it's similar to the one Bowser rolls if you land on his space in Mario Party 6.
But I digress. The die landed and my knees went weak.
"Fifty years of your life is forfeit as punishment." The Masters chimed. "Of course, feel free to try to win them back later."
I was sobbing. I was begging. But they were unmoved as they freed me from their supernatural grip. The next thing I remember is passing out on the red carpet, and waking up in my own bed.
I wanted to write it off as a bad dream so desperately, but I couldn't. First of all, I was dressed in the suit I had worn while gambling. My sweatpants and shirt were gone. Bad as that was, there was something much worse. Something that absolutely confirmed the worst.
Dallas had died under perplexing and seemingly downright impossible circumstances. There was no fire in his apartment, and nothing else was burned, yet his mysteriously charred corpse was discovered in his bed. Of course, I know why his corpse was charred. But I'm probably the only one.
But worst of all, I know my time is very limited. I don't know just how long I have, but it can't be long. I lost 50 years of life to those creatures. I'm 35 and still alive, so I would have lived to be at least 85. But how long after 85 would I have had? Maybe I'll die tomorrow, or the day after, or next year.
Or, if I'm lucky, maybe I'll have another 10 plus years. I'm living life knowing that every day could likely be my last. Loathe as I am to do so, I know my only hope is to go back to that awful Casino and win back my 50 years. I still have the medallion, and time is of essence. But I'm so afraid of going back there.
I'd better make a decision, lest I die without making peace.
submitted by Clarkinator69 to nosleep [link] [comments]

Learn to Play Poker in this One Simple Lesson

A challenge that every new player faces while learning how to play poker is dealing with the many variables of the game. Poker is as complicated as it looks like from the outside, if not more. Most professional players rightfully say it takes years to perfect a single poker variation because of how intricately complicated the game can get.
Even within a specific variation, you have various formats that it can be played in. The idea of online poker being more helpful in assisting with poker tools and a more convenient schedule, which is true. However, even then, you will first have to learn the basics of the game without which progressing further would be an eternal struggle. On that note, this article caters to you learning the game of cards in a simple yet efficient manner, so let’s get started.
Poker Hands
Every poker strategy that you consider playing with boils down to having the best hand at the table. Take the game of Texas Hold’em, for instance - the most famous of all poker games. Here, as the game progresses, you have a total of seven cards at your disposal. Using these, you must make the best five-card poker hand to win the pot. Poker hands consist of the Royal Flush, Straight Flush, Four of a Kind, Full House, Flush, Straight, Three of a Kind, Two Pair, Pair, and High card ranking from most to least important.
Blinds
The small and big blinds get forced bets at the table that promote action in the game. The big blind is generally twice the amount of the small blind. Since positions at the table shift towards the left with each round, the blinds shift as well.
Poker Actions and Betting Rounds
Games like Texas Hold’em contain a pre-flop round wherein you’re dealt with your two-hole cards, and the first round of betting begins with the blinds being posted. After this, three community cards are revealed on the flop following another round of betting. The turn and river each see one new community card at the table. Those remaining in hand after the river, move to the showdown where the best hand wins the game.
Depending on your table position, cards you hold, and your intent, you can either call, raise, fold, or check. Calling would mean for you to match the betting amount in the round, raise would mean you add to the amount, and folding would mean for you to quit the round. Checking is not always an option, but you can have the action move right past you without folding when you do have it.
Inference
Mastering poker is no easy feat to accomplish. However, with time and dedication, all disciplines can be conquered, and poker is no exception to this rule. If you pick a variation of your choice and spend all your time diligently on it, you will see results eventually. Speak to professional players for poker tips along the way.
submitted by PokerGamesIndia to u/PokerGamesIndia [link] [comments]

Learn How to Play Texas Hold’em

As a beginner poker player, one of the first lessons you are given about the game of cards is regarding Texas Hold’em. Poker is a game of skill where luck is a factor, and an endless number of nuances surrounds all of this. Learning all the complex variables in poker will take you years of experience. However, one right way to get started would be to start with the game of Texas Hold’em. How to play Texas Hold’em? The volume of variations that poker has to offer is genuinely confusing to choose from for a beginner. Besides, each variation can be played in several different formats.
As a newbie, your should get all your basics right so that you can then build on a secure foundation and have a complete rapporteur that a successful poker player would need. Texas Hold’em, which happens to be the most popular form of poker played worldwide and live, offers a wholesome experience of the action at the table. Through Hold’em games, you can get a taste of all the flavours that poker has to offer. From betting patterns to basic strategies and considering your bankroll management, you learn it all. Let us take a brief look at this game’s format.
Poker Hand Rankings and Table Actions
The idea of winning the pot in a game of Texas Hold’em is to have yourself the best possible five-card poker hand at the table. Poker Texas rules make use of the universally recognized 10 poker hand rankings, and those are the Royal Flush, Straight Flush, Four of a Kind, Full House, Flush, Straight, Three of a Kind, Two Pair, Pair, and High Card ranked from highest to lowest significance.
The poker actions you make determine the result of the game, and the cards you hold are detrimental to the same. You can call to match the amount of the existential bet, you can raise to add to it out of confidence, or you can fold if you think you aren’t in a position to bet. Checking is not always an option, but when it is, you can use it to have the action move past you without folding.
Texas Hold’em Rounds
To begin with, you have the pre-flop round where you are given your two-hole cards, and the first blinds are posted to start betting. The small blind is half the amount of the big blind for most cases. Play begins from the big blind in a clockwise direction, and table positions change with each round. In the flop, three community cards get revealed. One new community card is shown in each, the turn and river rounds. Hold’em games are played with anywhere between two to 10 players. After the turn, those left in hand proceed to the showdown where the one with the best five-card poker hand wins the game.
Inference
Being the most popular poker game, learning Texas Hold’em poker rules is a necessity for those wanting to play the game at a severe level. Of course, things can get tricky when you are playing MTTs with Hold’em, but with time and experience, you should be able to make the most out of your skills.
submitted by ShashankBhaskar to u/ShashankBhaskar [link] [comments]

All About 32-Card Draw Poker

When you play card games, you would know about its unique rules. This game is also very different from other popular poker variants such as Texas Hold’em, Rummy, etc. The main difference is that this game eliminates the lower cards from 2 to 6 from the deck. So, you must play with a lot of high cards. This way, it gets easier to make three of a kind or a full house.
32 Card Draw Poker Rules
This is how to play 32 Card Draw and its rules:
Hand rankings in 32-Card Draw Poker.
The Hand Rankings in 32 Card Draw Poker is different than other card games. The Hands ranks in this game are:
Inference
One essential thing to know about 32 card draw is that you might have a great hand, but your opponents' hands can be good too, as it has limited cards. This game type is a must-try!
submitted by ranveerjaffrey to u/ranveerjaffrey [link] [comments]

Full house

My King of hearts
suggested
Texas hold ‘em-
With a twist.
You bet big,
You lose-You strip.
His friends grinned,
and nodded.
So 'Sure' I said.
'Why not'.
I had never played before.
It sounded like Fun
For Mature girls,
And I so desperately
wanted to prove
myself to him.
They explained the rules,
And I pretended to understand.
It was clear they were
much more,
experienced players than me.
But luckily,
I still had all the layers
of my school uniform.
The joker at the table
Upped the ante
And Suggested,
That if we had a losing hand
we should also scull our drinks.
His friends grinned
And nodded too.
So ‘Sure’ I said
‘Why not’.
Six rounds in
With a jack of clubs
And a Two of spades.
I was trying to dig in deeper.
‘My socks’
I coughed up
To the pot.
I did not have
a lot much left to offer.
My shirt.
My bra.
My panties.
The sharks smelt
My blood
in the water
Another river, another turn
Another flop.
Soon I was naked.
I felt embarrassed by
my Bare chest,
boyish underdeveloped breasts.
One of the boys valiantly
volunteered to cover them
up with his hands
He warmed them first with his breath
And I was so grateful for that.
I don’t remember much else of the rest of the game
Who won
Or who lost.

Feedback 1
Feedback 2
submitted by OfCorey to OCPoetry [link] [comments]

Ulmeroa Hold 'Em - a polyhedral poker minigame

I DM a game set in a homebrew wild west setting, and naturally I needed a way to approximate poker with dice. I whipped up a quick, simplified rip off of Texas Hold 'Em using the d12, d8, and d4. It seemed to work out well, and I was encouraged to share it by one of my players.
The rules and betting are pretty much lifted directly from Texas Hold 'Em, but you could use any of the variations on betting you see in cards. But here's what I did:
  1. Royals - a combination of 12-8-4
  2. Three of a Kind - a combination of three matching dice (1's, 2's, 3's, or 4's)
  3. Straight - a combination of three dice in sequence (e.g. 1-2-3, 5-3-4)
  4. Third Wheel - if your d12 is equal to the sum of the d8 and the d4 (e.g. 9-7-2, 8-4-4, 4-1-3. Note that a 3-2-1 or 3-1-2 are actually higher scoring Straights, and a 12-8-4 is the higher scoring Royals)
  5. Pair - if your d12 matches one of either the d8 or d4
  6. High Card - if you fail to form any hands, your d12 is played as a high card.
  7. Ties: if players form hands of the same rank, the highest d12 "hole card" is the tie breaker. If players form the exact same hand, they split the pot. If the pot can't be split perfectly even, the remainder is tipped to the dealer.
I did some math (badly), and determined the relative strength of your d12 roll before you see "the flop," which is, in order: 3, 2, 4, 1, 5, 6, 8, 7, 12, 9, 10, 11. Somebody who is better at math should chime in and correct me if I'm wrong. After the flop it gets more complicated to determine relative strength of your hand- you have to figure in how the other players are betting, what hole cards the flop might interact with, and how those potential hands rank against your hand.
Let me know if you see any ways to improve the game without complicating it too much. Otherwise, have fun with it at your table and tell us how it goes.
submitted by hardcourt to DnDBehindTheScreen [link] [comments]

Clubhouse Games: 34 Frustrations

The more I play Clubhouse Games the more annoyed I get over how phoned-in it is. It looks great but I’d rather have worse graphics if it meant better gameplay.
I have about 80 hours in the game so far. I’ve played everything at least a few times: online and not, with friends or strangers. At a certain point, the novelty of the game wears off and your left with something incredibly subpar. Nothing about this game really feels broken but nothing feels incredibly polished either (except for the graphics but they’ve even managed to mess those up). I know I’m about to list off a bunch of minor annoyances but I don’t think expecting a first party Nintendo game to feel like it’s worth $40 is too much to ask.
I am interested in people’s opinions so I’ll try to keep things organized.
Clubhouse Games
  1. There are no global options whatsoever, and individual game options need to be set and reset often. You can’t change the volume for sound effects or music, you can’t turn the announcer off. It’d be nice to be able to disable intros, set all games to the hardest difficulty, or set favorites. Things like that wouldn’t be all that difficult to put in and would only make the experience better for everybody.
Single System
  1. Why does the game start with the worst possible UI option? Unless you love mancala, having games set up in a line isn’t useful (and even then you may want to play something else from time to time). You have to press X to change the menu every single time. The line is a cool presentation but it shouldn’t be the default.
  2. There is no way to sort games. They are not arranged in any particular order. It’d be cool if they were organized alphabetically or by age or region or players or game type but instead we get them loosely thrown together.
  3. Just to get this out the way now, there are not enough games for 3 or 4 people, despite a lot of these being games that support that many players.
Dots and Boxes
  1. Full analogue control is unnecessary. There should be the option to use the D pad to navigate the grid. Also this is an incredibly bare game for what is essentially color and paper. Being able to change the size and shape of the play space would be nice, as would different visual options.
Yacht Dice
  1. Mostly fine, the fact that it doesn’t snap to the category with the most points is weird.
Hex
  1. Same aesthetic complaint as D&B. Otherwise it’s fine and the grid based movement feels way better.
Hare and Hounds
  1. Why is there no option to randomize which player is which? That’s literally what happens online.
Chinese Checkers / Ludo
  1. Why can’t you pick your own color?
Shogi / Mini Shogi / Hanafuda
  1. Why aren’t Global and Classic purely cosmetic? Like, why do both players have to use the same setting? Just make it so each player can use the version they’re most comfortable with in the same game. This is a bigger problem online where they’re considered two different games.
Last Card
  1. The option to draw 1, or draw until you have a matching card should be in here, which is a pretty common house rule.
  2. Where you sit at the table doesn’t change nor can you can’t change the total number of players (uno itself can support up to 10 people). This makes friend matches somewhat boring because you’re always seated next to them.
  3. Declaring last card and playing the selected card should be the same action. It’s not like people still wouldn’t mess it up.
Blackjack
  1. This game is broken. You can go negative, which means there’s no incentive to place a reasonable bet. Why not just start the player with 500 if they can rack up debt? This is especially strange because in Texas you lose if you run out of money.
Texas Hold ‘em
  1. The betting system is better but it’s not great. Why can’t we choose how much we want to bet?
President
  1. Are five rounds necessary? The only thing that matters is who wins the last game so why not have a one round option?
Speed
  1. The selection mechanic doesn’t make sense and doesn’t always cooperate, which is problematic for such a high intensity game. Why not map the four cards to buttons and put the deck selection on the triggers?
Matching
  1. Same as #5. There’s no advantage to full analogue controls here.
Takoyaki
  1. Combos should snap to the appropriate card automatically. You get nothing from having to cycle through to each card.
Pig’s Tail
  1. Analogue makes a little more sense here but digital should still be an option (or at least give us cursor sensitivity options).
Golf
  1. A practice mode would be nice, or the option to undo your last stroke at least.
  2. Unlike other golf games, your ball wont bounce across the hole if you putt too hard. This makes the final putt unexiting and almost useless.
  3. It’s not clear how high your shot arcs in relation to the rest of the field.
Billiards
  1. Why does aiming and shooting suck so hard? Why not map aim to the shoulder buttons and give us a power meter like Carrom?
Bowling / Darts
  1. Why aren’t more than 2 players supported? These are the party games.
Toy Curling
  1. Worse than pool in that aiming and power are the same action. Makes the game imprecise.
  2. We don’t need to be reminded how many shots are left every turn. “Last three” is sufficient.
Toy Baseball
  1. I have never had a successful match with this game against another person. Maybe it’s just me but the controls don’t work when playing against a human who will use every trick under the sun to strike you out. They should’ve just put NES or Wii baseball here.
Slot Cars
  1. Analogue sticks are not precise. I get why they’re here but buttons or even RC cars like in Mario Odyssey would feel better.
Fishing
  1. Have we learned nothing from Mario Party or Smash 3DS? Turning the stick in a circle like that isn’t fun or comfortable and I don’t want to give my joy con a reason to start drifting again.
Shooting
  1. Also broken. The fact that there’s nothing stopping you from just spamming shot takes any fun or challenge out of the game once you play against other people. Even limited ammo would work here.
Piano
  1. A wasted opportunity. Why aren’t any keys mapped to buttons?
Online
  1. This game, like the NSO libraries, runs poorly for no reason. I have a friend in Australia (which has a poor internet infrastructure). We can play more demanding games like Splatoon and Minecraft just fine but this online is almost unplayable.
  2. Players with poor connection should be locked out of the action games.
  3. There should be a way to quit out of a game without quitting the whole app. There’s no consequence for it—on anyone’s end because they just replace you with a CPU anyway—so why not.
I know I didn’t get everything but I’d like to hear your thoughts. How are you getting along with the game? Are these problems starting to bother you? Do you have different problems that I didn’t name? Let me know in the comments.
submitted by mierecat to NintendoSwitch [link] [comments]

How to play Texas Hold 'em Poker online

Of all poker games, Texas Hold'em is probably the most popular. If you are new to the poker game, a great way is to understand Texas Hold 'em poker strategy. Hold 'em consists of two cards ('hole cards') dealt face-down to each player and then five group cards dealt face-up by the dealer. It is a set of three ('the flop'). An additional single card ('the turn') and another additional card ('the river') — with players having the option of testing, betting, raising, or folding after each deal; i.e., betting may take place before the flop, 'on the river.'
TEXAS HOLD'EM RULES:
Texas Hold'em Poker is a competitive card game played among 2-10 players. To enjoy it, you must follow the Texas Hold'em poker rules.
Hold 'em is usually played with small and big blinds-two players forced bets. In addition to blinds, Antes (forced contributions by all players) may be used, particularly in later stages of tournaments. A dealer "button" gets used to reflect the player in the dealer's position; with each hand, the dealer button rotates in a clockwise direction, shifting the dealer's location and blinds.
The small blind is placed by the player to the dealer's left and is generally equivalent to half the big blind. The big blind, which the player posts to the small blind's left, is equal to the minimum bet. The blind/ante system in tournament poker develops periodically as the tournament progresses. After one betting round gets finished, the individual will start the next betting round after the big blind and small blinds.
Now that you know poker tricks on Texas Hold'em, you are ready to hit the tables!
submitted by ranveerjaffrey to u/ranveerjaffrey [link] [comments]

If You See Graffiti Reading "FOR A GOOD TIME CALL:", follow this "Rule of the Road"...

The following contains a transcript from a short radio broadcast that has been picked up by various listeners across the continental United States. Many have been perplexed by its sudden appearance and how it seems to preempt whatever song or radio program they are listening to at the time. It has even been known to appear on streaming programs such as podcasts or Spotify. Listeners have described hearing different episodes and there have been many situations and incidents.
A 23 year old college student named Yuvisela contacted me with her account of hearing the broadcast. She and her boyfriend had encountered the broadcast while driving one sultry summer afternoon from Austin, TX.
So I have this thing with waterfalls. I’m a little obsessed with them. In my free time and when I’m not paying attention in lecture, I like to look on the internet at pictures of them and daydream that I’m there: the roar of the splashing water, the white foamy spray, my bare toes dipped into the icy spring. I’ve got a Pinterest page with hundreds of falls that I would like to visit one day. Niagara, Havasu, Victoria Falls, Gullfoss, Iguazu; they’re all on there. I keep them all catalogued for my bucket list.
Yet, how many people go to the grave with their bucket list hardly finished? I bet a lot.
My boyfriend, Gabriel, likes to mess with me about my obsession. He’ll come up behind me while I’m on my computer or look over my shoulder at my phone and see that I’m looking at waterfalls.
“Don’t go chasing waterfalls, stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to,” he’ll sing when he catches me. It’s this old song he knows, TLC or something. He’s about six years older than me. I’ll joke with him to leave me alone and quit singing that old music, ask him if he used to listen to that on an 8-track or something.
“No, my older sister listened to it on CD. You know CD’s? Those little plastic things with the holes in them? That little slot in your car’s stereo, a CD goes in there. They don’t make ‘em in the new cars anymore.”
We’ve had a variation of this same conversation a bunch of times. It’s kind of a running joke between the two of us—him poking fun at my waterfall obsession and me making fun of how old he is—and while he thinks the waterfall thing is a cute little quirk of mine, he also has been supportive of my passion. That’s why he surprised me with the trip that summer. He knew that I was yearning to see some of these places. He knew that he wanted to make me happy. He knew that my resources were limited. He knew that we weren’t getting any younger; I was 23 and still had a semester to go.
But he also knew that we weren’t getting any richer, either. At least not anytime soon. I know I’m a little bit older for a college student, but it’s taken me a bit longer on account of having to work and stuff. I can’t take a full load every semester. Money’s always tight. I work full time and barely stay ahead, even sending some of my money to help my mom out. Gabriel offered to help me out some and we’d even talked about moving in together, but we had only been together a year at that point and I wasn’t quite ready.
Before my dad had passed, I’d promised him that I was going to get my college degree and I wanted to do it all on my own. While I loved Gabriel and could see myself marrying him, I didn’t want to deal with a transition like that so close to the finish line. Besides, we were getting along so well as it was. Why mess with a good thing?
And it was a good thing that kept better. Just when I thought that I couldn’t love Gabriel more, on my birthday he surprised me with the best present I’ve ever gotten. It was a little black notebook with this kind of leathery cover. While the notebook itself was nice, it was what was inside that was the true present. At some point, he had gone onto my Pinterest page and written down page after page of waterfalls, organizing them by country and state. He had put little squares beside them, boxes to check off. The last two pages were Texas and Oklahoma. He had written a note there. It read:
“Let’s start now...”
-Gabriel
* * *
So far, the trip had been a blast. We had started out in Abilene where we both lived and where I attended college. From there, we went to a place called Gorman Falls at this state park. It was one of the tallest waterfalls in the state and all of the foliage and moss around it was lush and green and for a while, if I crossed my eyes just right it was like I wasn’t even in Texas.
We couldn’t hit all the sites in a day. It was a road trip with multiple nights in hotels. After Gorman Falls and staying at a hotel, we headed towards Austin and stopped off at Hamilton Pool Preserve. The waterfall wasn’t as tall as Gorman, but I have to say I liked it better. The water formed a curtain as it poured off of a rocky shelf and into this sunken grotto of blue green water.
We stayed at this magical place for hours, swimming in the water and soaking up the sun. I could’ve stayed longer, but it was starting to get crowded, so we headed to Austin for a night on the town on 6th Street.
The next day we slept in and got a late start on the road. Lunch was at a Whataburger outside Waco. We sat and ate our food and looked at our phones. I browsed Instagram and my eyes skimmed over a gorgeous site. Yep, another waterfall. I slid my phone over to Gabriel.
“Look!” I said.
“Am I supposed to be looking at the butt or the waterfall?” he asked. An Instagram model was standing with her back to the camera, looking up at the water in awe.
“The waterfall, silly.”
“Seriously, that skinny white girl ain’t got nothing on you. Better let me take a look, just to be sure.”
I stood and twirled around quickly, teasing him. “Ok, so back to the waterfall. Did you look at it?”
“Yeah, it’s beautiful babe. Where was this one?”
“Iceland,” I sighed.
“Oh, right.”
“It’s not looking good for the time being. Maybe in a few years, yeah?”
“Just gotta see how the election goes. I ain’t holding my breath.”
See, neither of us were U.S. citizens. We were what you call DACA recipients. Both of us had wound up in America via illegal means on behalf of our parents, back when we were kids. This was when we were too young to have any say in the matter. I can hardly remember my life before, my life back in Mexico. I grew up here, went to school here. Texas and America is the only home I’ve ever known. Gabriel, he was originally from Guatemala. His situation is more or less the same.
If we were to leave the country, then we might risk not being able to get back in. You could apply for eligibility to travel if you had special circumstances, but they didn’t allow travel for leisure. We didn’t even have passports. Until then, our dreams of traveling—something we both wanted to do—were just that: dreams.
There was a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel. Obama and that DREAM act, I’m sure you’ve heard of it. You know, the dreamers or whatever? That’s what they call us. I guess they call it that because it’s just a freaking fantasy that disappears at the slightest thing—the sunrise, your phone alarm—out of your grasp as soon as you start your day.
Anyways, I applied for the DREAM act, but it hasn’t been a guarantee. We’re all stuck in a sort of limbo, waiting for the people in Washington to figure out what the hell to do with us, using us as a bargaining chip.
Not Gabriel though, he didn’t apply for the act. Part of it was that he was bad about procrastinating. The other part was that he was paranoid about signing up. I told him that he was an idiot and if he blew his chance to become a legal permanent resident, then I wouldn’t follow him to Guatemala if he got deported. He told me that he didn’t trust the program, that once they had you in the system they could track you easier, keep tabs on you. Said he knew a guy that got deported this way. I told him that the guy must’ve gotten into some legal trouble, a DUI or something, to have been deported.
“We’re all just one slip up from some legal trouble. Hell, some people consider us illegal right now,” he had said.
It was hard to argue against that, I guess. At least he knew where he stood, didn’t have that false hope. Sometimes I think it’s the hope that gets you, makes things worse.
Gabriel frowned and handed the phone back to me, looked out the window and took a sip of his Coke. I suddenly felt bad and ungrateful. Here was this amazing man that had planned out an awesome road trip just for me and I was busy looking at other far off adventures, not appreciating what I had right in front of me, the moment I was living in right now.
I leaned forward and kissed him. "I don't care where I'm at as long as you're with me," I said and he smiled.
What I told him just then, it was true. That didn’t mean I was going to grow complacent and quit dreaming.
They did call us dreamers after all.
It was one of those giant truck stops, the kind that was a little smaller than a Wal-Mart or Target, but just barely. We filled up and paced around inside and looked at the aisles and aisles of candy, the funny toys and souvenirs, and the tacky t-shirts.
“Hey Yuvi, whaddaya say? It’s your size.” Gabriel asked, holding up a black t-shirt with glittery letters. “PROUD TRUCKER WIFE” it read.
“Only if you get that one,” I said, pointing at a T-shirt with a semi-truck on it that read “I JUST DROPPED A LOAD”.
“Eww,” Gabriel said, laughing.
We both wandered around on our own. They had a huge candy section and I was looking to see if they had any vero elotes candy. I had just found a bag on a bottom shelf when Gabriel came skipping up.
“We are so getting this,” he said, holding up a plastic CD case.
“What is it?”
“Best of the ‘90s. It’s got your song on there, see? ‘Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls.’ Can we get it? It’s only 3.99.”
“Ha, ok. But only if you buy me this,” I said, handing him the candy.
There was traffic from hell just south of Denton on account of construction and a car wreck or two. We were stop-and-go for what seemed like an hour. I was passenger side and Gabriel idled along.
“Ok. I think now’s the time to break out this bad boy,” Gabriel said as he started tearing at the plastic wrap around the CD case.
“I think this is the first time I’ve even used the CD player in this car.”
“Aw hell yeah,” Gabriel said as the first song started playing. “Gettin’ Jiggy With It.”
“Getting what, now?”
“It’s your boy, Will Smith. Y’know the Fresh Prince? Betcha didn’t know he had a little music career.”
“That guy from I Am Legend and Aladdin?”
Gabriel rolled his eyes. “I guess. His older work is much better.”
“Well I don’t know. You act like you're this old and wise millennial. You’re not that much older than me, y’know.”
“I’m telling ya, my Gen-X sister raised me on all of this stuff. I think she was Gen-X. I don’t know the damn cutoffs. Anyways, she babysat me a lot growing up while Mama was working and stuff. She cultured my little ass. Ooh, here it is!”
A new song started playing. I couldn’t help but laugh at how it started. “It sounds like porn music!”
“Nah, shhhh. Shhh.” Gabriel bobbed his head along to the beat.
The chorus started to worm it’s way into my head. The song was ok, I guess. I still can’t really listen to it to this day.
“You gotta listen to this dope rap coming up,” Gabriel said.
There was the sound of hissing and popping, wet logs burning in a fire. Whispers intermingled with the sound effects. One of the voices rose above the others and said “Listen!” harshly in Spanish, you know, “Escuchen! Escuchen!”, several times.
We both looked at each other with wide eyes. The traffic crept forward slowly and Gabriel kept his hands on the wheel and I kept mine in my lap and that’s when he started to talk. It was this happy sounding older guy, talking right there on my car’s speakers.
Gooood afternoon folks, Buck Hensley here with a special rush hour edition of “The Rules of the Road”. Hope ya’ll are doing alright out there while you’re idling on the clogged arteries of America’s highways and byways, breathing in those delicious exhaust fumes. I know that good ol’ Mother Earth likes to take a big fat rip of that stuff from time to time, although as of late she seems to be getting quite a contact high from that delicious Co2 and starting to feel the effects just a little too much.
And yet you all keep puff-puffing and passing, never slowing down. What with your jet planes and your driving and your travel and your neverending consumption and your cow farts and whatnot. All I’m saying is that you folks might wanna slow down a bit on that stuff, because I’ve seen the end results and all I can say is that they are hilarious. But I understand if you wanna keep on keeping on and having a good time. All I can say is smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.
Speaking of good times, that reminds me of today’s special “Rule of the Road”. You’re gonna want to listen to this one as it’s all about good times. Why that was Carla’s favorite sitcom for a spell there, “Good Times”. She’d watch reruns on into the night, the TV casting a pale glow that was kinda comforting across the bed, and I’d wake up to live studio laughter and her snoring softly beside me, the serene look of slumber on her face and the years I’d wasted.
Gabriel and I both looked at eachother. He shrugged and reached for the stereo. I shooed his hand away. I wanted to listen to it. The voice continued.
But I digress...well now, on to today’s “Rule of the Road”. If at any point during your journey you stop off for a pitstop or a potty break and you enter a public restroom to do your business, take note of the writing on the stalls. You might notice some graffiti that reads, “For a Good Time, Call” and then a phone number listed after it. If you do notice this, then take the number down for later use. Whenever you are in dire need of a good time, then give that number a call.
Now before you go off with a bee in your bonnet and tell me how you ain’t gonna call no sketchy phone number taken off a lady’s or men’s room wall, let me just tell you that this will be worth it. You can trust me. When has old Bucky ever let ya down?
I know what you’re gonna say next though, you’re gonna say, “Buck, I don’t ever call no numbers on my phone. I’m deathly afraid of voices on the other line. If I can’t text and send little emojis and the like, then forget it. If I can’t use an app to order Thai food or a pizza, then I go hungry that night. I haven’t even made an appointment to a doctor since I’ve lived with my parents. What if since we can’t see each other’s faces we start talking at the same time and we talk over each other and then say, ‘oops sorry, no you go ahead’ and then we both say it again at the same time and then we both start trying to talk again and then get stuck in some sort of infinite loop?”
And to that I say, “fair enough.” Don’t use the phone. The consequences of not following this rule are a little less dire than previous rules you may have heard. If you don’t follow this rule then you will simply miss out on a good time. That’s it. But you wouldn’t want to miss out on anything, would ya?
Welp. That’s all I’ve got on this fine late afternoon. May the wind be always at your back, your picnic basket full of snacks, and your cheese ever be pepper jack. Ya’ll stay sane out there. Stay symbiotic. Stay lonely. I'm Buck Hensley and these are "The Rules of the Road".
The voice instantly stopped and the song returned playing. Gabriel had a dumbfounded look on his face.
"What the hell?" he said and tried to rewind the CD.
"Umm, was that part of the song? Maybe a different version?"
"No way," he said and kept rewinding and playing the song over. The little skit that we heard never returned.
“Weird,” I said.
“Beats the heck out of me.”
“Maybe the CD is haunted. That was pretty spooky, y’know? That voice telling us to listen.”
“Maybe it was like a hidden track or something. They used to put those on CD’s back in the day. And this CD was pretty cheap and has all these songs on it. Could’ve been like a pirated deal.”
We weren’t really scared by the broadcast or whatever it was, just more confused. It was only looking back that we saw the importance of what we had heard and how from there our path seemed to be led a certain way.. At the time it was just this weird little thing, a funny little mystery that was forgettable for the time being.
We crept along for a while without incident, the traffic slowly gaining momentum. The music on the CD played on as usual and we heard no extra voices. The songs played like they were supposed to. Everything was fine.
Of course, outside of Gainesville, it hit me. I had been trying to ignore it and power through until we stopped for the night, but I had the sudden urge to pee. All that slow traffic and iced tea and a bottle of water must’ve caught up with me. This was intense. Usually I could hold it pretty good, but I had to get Gabriel to stop at the first exit we saw.
It was this gas station kind of off by itself and it was all dingy and old and faded and didn’t look the cleanest. Gabriel parked and my lower stomach and bladder ached as soon as I stood up and got out of the car. I burst into the place and made a beeline towards the restroom, over in the corner past the ATM and the glass fridges down a hall with burnt out fluorescent lights.
They were singles that you could lock, one for men and one for women. The floor was sticky and paper towels piled out of a trash can and a strip of toilet paper floated in a pool of standing water. A condom dispensing machine was on the wall opposite the toilet.
It wasn’t the worst public restroom I’d ever used and I didn’t have many options; I was literally about to piss myself. I would have to do the hover move over the toilet seat. No seat covers in a joint like this and I didn’t have time to prep it with toilet paper anything.
So I was doing my business, my thighs burning from the squat, and kind of laughing to myself at the condom dispenser machine with its brands like the “FRENCH TICKLER” and that’s when I saw it, the graffiti written in Sharpie, right there on the vending machine. It said, “For A Good Time, Call 9xx-XXX-XXXX [Redacted]”.
After I finished and had washed my hands, I snapped a pic of the graffiti. I figured Gabriel would get a kick out of it.
“You’re supposed to call it. That’s the rule,” Gabriel said when I showed him.
“I’m too nervous. You call. You heard it, too.”
“Chicken.”
“Yep.”
“How many of those things do you even see? I’ve seen them all the time. I bet it’s just dudes pranking each other or fucking with their ex-girlfriends.”
“Well I found it in the ladies room, so hopefully it wasn’t dudes.”
“Okay, you enter it in your phone and I’ll dial. I’ll try to do a caller ID block or something. Let’s just see what happens.”
“Are you sure?”
“Eh come on. Maybe it’s fate.”
The Texas travel center appeared on the southbound side of the interstate and we were soon crossing the Red River on into Oklahoma as I transcribed the numbers from the picture to the keypad on my dialer.
A large casino came into view. It was ginormous with this sort of facade of all these famous buildings on its outside. I could see Big Ben and that Roman coliseum and all these other world architecture things. The casino just stretched on and on.
“Aw, not again,” Gabriel said.
I had just finished transposing the number into the phone. The crazy casino had distracted me. “What is it, babe?”
“Another jam.”
The traffic was veering into the right hand lane, but it was still moving at a decent clip, like 45 mph or something. After a mile of this, I could see a couple of highway patrol cars parked across the interstate, blocking both lanes of traffic. A state trooper stood out in the middle, waving a flashlight thing and directing traffic to take the exit. There was still about an hour of daylight left and you couldn’t even see the light. He was just using it as a baton. Somewhere off in the distance there was a thick wall of smoke filling the evening sky with this surreal haze.
“Wonder what’s going on?” I asked.
“Who knows? Grassfire, maybe.”
We followed the other cars and trucks down the exit ramp. Some turned right, some turned left.
“Right or left? Right or left?” Gabriel asked.
There seemed to be more cars turning left. Maybe they knew something we didn’t. But then, we would be stuck behind them and it was getting dark and we were already behind schedule. I wanted to get the hell out of the car.
“Um, right! Right,” I said, trying to pull up the GPS on my phone. It was lagging and my service had kicked over to 3G. “Freaking Verizon,” I muttered.
We drove down a highway past empty fields fenced off by barbed wire. There were houses and barns and oilfield pump jacks every so often, but not much else. No gas stations or a sign of a town or much else, really. After driving into all this nothingness for a while, my phone completely lost all signal. The cars around us thinned out and there was only a black SUV in front of us.
“Hey babe, I have no service and can’t pull up the GPS. Wanna turn back around?”
“Nah, let’s just keep going. We’ve come this far, yeah? We’ll hit a main road eventually, get some service.”
I sighed in response as he kept driving, let him know I didn’t approve.
“We’ll turn north soon, ok? All roads lead to Turner Falls.”
I checked my phone every fifteen seconds, looking for a signal.
“C’mon Gabe, we’re gonna get lost out here. Let’s just go back, follow the other cars or see if they’ve opened up the interstate again.”
“Look, this looks like a good road. We’ll cut north here and drive aways and then cut back west towards the interstate. It’s literally impossible to get lost out here. Just trying not to lose any more time.”
But it wasn’t so simple and the nervous feeling in my stomach was validated when the road we drove north on turned to gravel. The sun was long gone and our headlights cut a tunnel through the night as barbed wire whizzed by, separating us from pastures that were elevated above the road on grassy rises. I started to fear the worst, thinking of every horror movie I’d ever seen that had started out this way: the headstrong man refusing to admit that he was lost and didn’t know where he was going and the increasingly pissed off and worried girl that was with him.
Babe, please just turn around,” I pleaded.
“Ok, ok. Still no signal, eh?”
I looked down at my phone. Finally, there was one bar of service. “Yes! Hang on.”
“Oh fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck,” Gabriel said, his voice growing louder.
My stomach dropped as what appeared in the rear view mirror was just as scary as any sort of Freddy or Jason or Leatherface from the big screen.
Part 2
submitted by throwawayaracehorse to nosleep [link] [comments]

What Are The Most Common Rules Of Poker?

The people who want to try their luck in online card games have to know about poker and its rules. There are many poker rules, such as poker hands, poker strategies, actions, betting rounds, and so on. If you can play all these well, then only you can become the winner of the pot.
One of the most common games in poker is Texas Hold’em poker. If you are a poker beginner, and you do not know much about this Texas Hold’em poker game and the rules of poker, then here we tell you the simple rules of the game.
Rules of Poker
Poker is a game that needs a minimum of two members and a maximum of ten members to play the game. The game invovles 52 cards. The game starts when the dealer gives every player two hole cards face-down. Then, the dealer provides a total of five community cards face-up at the poker table, one by one as the round progresses. The game aims to make the best possible poker 5-card hand as per the poker game rules. The poker sequence from the highest to the lowest is.
Possible card actions
The dealer button starts the game. The person sitting left of the dealer places the small blind bet, and the person sitting left of the person placing small blind bet has to make the big blind bet. The blind is a concept introduced in poker to ensure there are chips in the pot before the players start betting. Every player then places the bet in the clockwise direction to the next player.
After the blind, the dealer gives two private cards or hole cards to all the players. When you get a chance, play your turn, and do the following actions:
Check: In this action, you refuse to place the bet.
Fold: This action means that you are discarding your cards.
Raise: If you have good cards, you can raise to match the highest bet amount or put a bet of more amount.
Call: You can ‘Call’ to match the highest amount bet in that hand.
Bet: The players can bet even if no other player has placed a bet in that round.
All-in: You can also go for All-in if you don’t have chips, but you have a strong hand. In this concept, the pot is divided into the main pool and side pot. The winner of the game gets the main pot, and the runner up gets the side pot.
Inference
The aim is to make the best possible five-card poker hand from the seven cards given to you. With experience, you will be able to remember all the rules and apply several poker strategies too. As a different experience, you can also try video poker. Video poker games are simple and fun to play. There are many types of video poker like jacks or better, joker poker, etc.
submitted by ranveerjaffrey to u/ranveerjaffrey [link] [comments]

I've Been To Hell, This Is What I Saw (Part 1)

I don’t know who found the temple. Farmers, maybe. I doubt they knew what they’d stumbled upon. I’ll bet they just thought they’d found an interesting ruin and that was it. Nothing more than crumbling stone and broken pottery. I was never one for digging in the dirt myself. I don’t have the patience for that kind of thing. There’s no rush of adrenaline to it. There’s nothing to make your heart race and keep you on the edge. Back before I left the military, my old CO called me self destructive. Maybe he was right about that. I just like the rush. I dunno if that’s because I’ve got something to prove or if I genuinely just don’t care if I live or die. Maybe I’m just fucking crazy.

I’ve gone through FUBAR ops before. People die. You do shit that should leave you with nightmares. But when the shit hits the fan, it gives you an opportunity to see what you’re really made of. Some people break. Some people take it in stride and a few of us thrive in it. I won’t say I’ve ever wanted to see an op go to shit, nobody does. Its terrifying. But if you asked me to relive my past Ops, I’d say I’d rather relive the worst ones first because those are the ops that made me savor every heartbeat.

I’m aware that I’m breaking my contract by sharing this information. After this, I can kiss my career on the circuit goodbye but I honestly don’t fucking care. Montu Defense Services can fuck themselves for trying to bury it. There are some things in this world that are not meant to be fucked with. What we found down there. What we lived through… That was one of them. My name is Corporal Jasmine McKay, I’ve been to hell and this is what I saw down there.

The temple was located in Italy, a few kilometres off the coast. It was about as close to the middle of nowhere as we could get. I figured it must have been something big for someone to have hired a PMC to guard it but I don't know any more than that. It was money and as a rule I didn’t socialize with the clients. I mostly stuck with my own in Fireteam Whisky.

While you were on a job with Montu, your fireteam was your family. I respected that. Ops didn’t typically go tits up but when they did, when you were in the shit, it was hard to care about the job itself. When someone starts shooting at you, the clients and their interests stop mattering. All that matters is you and your team. It grounds you, gives you something to focus on. In a way it simplifies things. Whisky was a good group of people. I’d worked with most of them before.

Captain Fred Compton was our designated team leader. He was clean cut, late thirties and no nonsense. Like me, he’d done his time as a soldier and I don’t think he really had much else to do with his life. I’d heard a few rumors about bad calls made in hot spots but I made a point not to listen to those. Compton was in charge for better or worse and frankly I’d say I’ve had worse COs.

We had two Automatic Riflemen, PFCs Calvin Blake and Allen Hopper. Blake was blonde, baby faced and about as green as you could come. For a rookie, the kid had one hell of a mouth on him. Hopper on the other hand knew his shit. He was just about as close to a Texas stereotype as one might get. A modern cowboy looking to buy a ranch and drop off the face of the earth. It was no secret that he only cared about the money and so long as his wallet got fatter, he’d do damn near anything.

Our grenadier was a man we simply called: ‘The Cook’. I knew his actual name. Most of us did, but we didn't use it. It's hard to be taken seriously with a name like Maximus Pancake. So ‘Cook’ it was. It suited him more anyways. He was a gentle giant who wore his heart on his sleeve. If nothing else I respected him for that.

Me? I was the team's rifleman. All in all, I can’t say we made for a bad team. We just didn’t know we’d be going into a FUBAR op. The job was just to guard a dig. That was all we were hired to do. Guard a fucking dig.

We were about two weeks in when everything went to shit. I can’t say anything interesting had happened prior to that. One of the other fireteams had chased off some teenagers trying to sneak into the dig. Other than that, all was quiet. I was off duty along with most of Whisky and in the compound we’d set up a short distance from the dig itself when Compton told us we were being briefed in the command tent.
“Five minutes. Be ready to move out. We’ve got work to do, Whisky.”
“Something big, Captain?” Cook asked.
“Maybe.” Compton replied, “Come on. Don't keep the brass waiting.”
We knew better than to drag our feet.

Together we filed out of our little home away from home. The command tent was just a brisk walk away and I could hear Blake bitching the whole way there.
“The fuck have they got that’s so urgent?”
“Just cuz it ain’t urgent to you doesn’t mean that the folks paying for our little setup here don’t think it's urgent.” Hopper replied, “Cheer up, rook. This job’s basically a vacation.”
“If this were a vacation I’d be in fucking Rome. Sexy Italian bitches, everywhere you look!”
“They generally don’t like it when you call ‘em bitches.”
Blake just scoffed in response as if Hopper didn’t know a thing or two more about women then he did.

I made it to the tent behind Compton. The brass was waiting for us along with one of the archeologists. A man by the name of Neil Serrano. I can’t say I ever learned much about him. He was in his mid thirties with meticulously styled hair and big plastic rimmed glasses. His neatly trimmed beard gave him something of a hipster vibe.

The Brass waited until we were all inside before he started.
“At ease, Whisky. This here is Dr. Serrano. I’m sure you’ve seen him around before.”
Serrano just cracked a shy smile and raised his hand in a polite wave.
“The supervisors of this dig have decided to permit Dr. Serrano to start moving deeper into the ruins they’ve uncovered. This is where you come in. There’s a blockage in a chamber leading to the lower levels of the ruins. That needs to be cleared away. After that, you’ll be escorting Dr. Serrano through the lower levels. Any questions?”

I raised a hand.
“With all due respect sir, why is a full fireteam being sent in as an escort?”
“Dr. Serrano, you made the request.” The brass said, looking expectantly over at him.
“Yes, well… We don’t exactly know what’s down there past the blockage.” Serrano said a bit sheepishly. “While I’m not anticipating anything down there. I am concerned by the possibility that we may disturb some local wildlife. Bears, mountain lions. It’s possible they may have found another entrance and are down there.”

“Bears?” Blake asked, cracking a smile. A glare from Compton discouraged him from any further comment.
“We’re there as a safety precaution.” The Captain said, “Cook, stop by the armory. Get everything you need for a demolitions op. The rest of you, standard operating procedure.”
“Yes sir!” Came the replies. Blake sounded just a little less enthusiastic.

As we geared up, I could still hear Blake whining about the op.
“They’re outfitting a full fucking fireteam to go into a hole? The fuck do they need the full team for?”
“We work as a unit, rookie.” I said, “That’s just how it is.”
“Yeah but for this? I’m not the only one who thinks this is a waste of time, right?”
I just picked up my standard issue carbine and pushed past him. Cook looked over at me, shaking his head as he finished outfitting himself.

We moved out less than twenty minutes after the briefing, following Serrano to the ruins. Blake had the good sense not to run his mouth off in front of the doctor at least. The exterior of the temple was nothing particularly interesting. It was little more than a narrow cave. I had to duck my head to get inside as I followed Compton and Serrano inside. During the weeks I’d been there, I had yet to actually enter the temple yet. I wasn’t sure what to expect inside.

Time hadn’t been kind to the ruins. I’d expected something more ornate and impressive. Instead, I just saw broken remnants of stone architecture carved into broken walls. A few artificial lights had been installed but they were barely enough to see by.
“Cook, move on ahead.” Compton said and I had to push myself against one of the walls for Cook to get past me.
“The blockage is just down this hallway, at the end of the chamber.” Serrano said. He gestured for Cook to follow him. “You’ve got the charges, right?”
“Should we be inside when he blows those things?” Blake asked, “Seems kinda hazardous.”

Compton opened his mouth to reply before he paused. Blake had a point.
“Rookies got a point. Cook, you good on your own?”
“I’ve got it handled!” Cook called back. “Doc, I’ll rig the charges but when I’m done we should both get clear. I don’t think I’ve got enough to bring this place down but I don’t wanna chance getting trapped in a cave in.”
“Right, right. You’re the boss!” Serrano assured him. Compton gestured for us to file out and we did. I could hear Serrano speaking to Cook faintly in the distance but not the specifics of what was said.

It was a few minutes before both Cook and Serrano filed out of the cave and a few minutes later before we heard the blast. Dust flew out of the ruins and we waited quietly to see if the cavern would collapse. I can’t say I was particularly surprised when it didn’t. Compton stared into the darkness as the dust settled. He looked over at us, eyes focusing on Blake.
“Blake, Cook. Take point. Let’s see if the debris is cleared.”
“Wait, what? Why me?” Blake protested as Cook started inside without a word.
“Because, if something came out there, I don’t want Cook handling it alone. Move out.”

Blake swore under his breath before following Cook inside. For a few moments, I could hear his faint complaining before Cooks voice cut through the darkness.
“Blockage is clear! Looks like it’s safe to keep moving.”
I could see Serrano’s eyes light up. He was the first one back in that cave and he moved with all the enthusiasm of a kid on Christmas. Compton followed him with Hopper and I behind him.

The dust hung heavy in the air as we moved through the ruins of the temple. I could see Cook up ahead, standing in front of a fresh hole where there used to be rubble. Now I could see stone stairs leading down into the darkened earth. They looked far better preserved than the rest of the ruins around us.
“This is it!” I heard Serrano say. “This is really it! We’re through!”
He stood over the stairs, almost quaking in excitement as he began his descent.
“Doctor, wait!” Compton called but Serrano didn’t listen. He made his way down the darkened stairs, turning on his flashlight as he went. Compton just sighed in frustration.
“McKay, Blake. Move up. Keep an eye on him. We’re right behind you.”
“Yes sir.” I said quietly. I felt a familiar surge of excitement as I started down the stone stairs with Blake behind me.

I didn’t expect there to be any light aside from our flashlights. I was wrong. I caught little glimmers of a blueish green glow on some of the walls. On inspection, I noticed little flowers that looked like nothing I’d seen before growing out of cracks in the rock. Their color seemed to shift from vibrant pinks to green and blue.
“Stinks down here…” I heard Blake murmur. I noticed the smell as well. Sickly sweet and musky.
Up ahead, I could see that Serrano had reached an ending in the stairwell and I moved down to catch up with him.

The chamber that the stairwell opened into was large and well preserved. It had a massive domed ceiling that loomed over us and I could hear my footsteps echoing inside. In the center of the room was a massive pedestal that Serrano stood over.
“This is amazing…” He said under his breath. His flashlight shone on the domed ceiling above us, “Can you believe we’re likely the first people to set foot here in… God… At least five thousand years, maybe even more!”

Looking up at the ceiling, I saw images engraved into the stone. There was one of what looked to be a bipedal wolf. It wore a long robe and seemed to have a feather by its head.
“What the hell is this place?” I murmured.
“Judging by the diagrams, it seems to have been a way for the builders of this temple to contact their Gods.” Serrano said. “I’ve seen some of these markings before. These are ancient entities… Some even predating the earliest known Gods!”
“Wouldn’t that make them the earliest known Gods, then?” Blake asked. Serrano's flashlight shifted to illuminate a carving of a face near the top of the chamber. The face looked skeletal with sunken eyes and a wide, predatory grin. Eight horns surrounded the face. Two on the top, two on the bottom and two on each side.

“If that's their God, I’m happy they died out.” I murmured as Serrano looked down at the pedestal.
“This must have been how they summoned them.” He murmured and reached out to touch it.
“I don’t think I need to tell you to be careful with that, Dr. Serrano.” Compton said as he, Cook and Hopper descended the final steps of the temple.
“It’s fine, I know what I’m doing!” Serrano promised. He held his flashlight in his mouth as he fiddled with the pedestal and Cook drew nearer to him to watch what he was doing. I could hear the heavy shifting of ancient stone before the ground beneath me started to shake.
“The fuck is that?” Blake called. Old dust and cracked stone fell from the domed ceiling.
“Earthquake!” I replied, “From the explosives, maybe?”
In the beam from my flashlight, I saw Comptons eyes go wide.
“Move! We’re going back up!” He called. “Dr. Serrano, leave the pedestal!”

Serrano looked up at him, I couldn’t read the expression on his face and frankly, I didn’t linger on it for long. A massive stone ring moved along the domed ceiling and up towards the demonic face in the center. I could see a second ring on the other side of the room moving up to do the same. Its trajectory cut off Comptons retreat towards the stairs and he froze dead in his tracks. The rings rose up and intersected beneath the carving and I saw a pillar of blinding white light erupt from the rings to the pillar. Compton froze, just a few seconds as the ground shook again, more violently this time. I don’t think any of us had time to react.
The last thing I remember before the explosion was Cook's voice, shouting: “RUN!”
Then came the deafening roar as the light overtook us and after that… darkness.

I was sure that I was dead. All I could see was darkness and the air around me was freezing cold. I was sure that we’d triggered a collapse and now I was dead. What a sorry way to go, right? After all the stupid shit I’d done, the bad ops, the pointless thrill seeking. All of that. I died in a fucking cave in. It seemed funny at the time. Funny enough for me to laugh at and I did laugh.

That laughter echoed back at me, and hearing it, I started to second guess whether or not I really was dead. Maybe it was just my imagination, but… I heard shuffling beside me. A groan that sounded a lot like Hopper. I flexed my fingers, feeling my aching body and realizing that somehow, I’d survived whatever had happened.
“Status report…” I heard Compton rasp. “McKay? Cook? Dr. Serrano?”

“Compton?” I called back as I slowly started to pick myself up. The ground beneath me was as cold as ice. Looking around, I saw that I wasn’t in complete darkness. There was a pale blue glow around me. It was enough to make out five other dark figures.
“I’m here.” Hopper called.
“Me too.” Said Cook.
“Jesus Christ, what the fuck happened?” And there was Blake.

Hopper turned on his flashlight, offering a little more light to see by. I could see Serrano on the ground nearby, slowly picking himself up. Cook offered him a hand to help him up.
“Did the chamber collapse?” Hopper asked, “Where are we? Why’s it so fuckin’ cold?”
I heard the crackle of Comptons radio as he tried to turn it on.
“This is Fireteam Whisky, does anyone read me?”
No response. There was only static.

“This is Captain Fred Compton from Fireteam Whisky. Does anyone read me? Please respond.”
Still nothing.
“Anyone got a cell phone or something?” Hopper asked. “Could be the radio is down.”
“I’ve got mine.” I offered as I fished it out of a pocket. I still had power but no signal. I could see Blake checking his own phone and swearing under his breath. He turned on his phone's flashlight instead.

“I got nothing!” He called, “Christ, did we get buried alive down here? How the fuck are we going to get out?”
“I don’t think we’re buried…” Cook murmured. He’d knelt down and had a hand on the floor.
“This is ice… Why would there be ice if we were buried?”
“Ice?” Compton asked. He looked down at the floor and pressed a hand to it to confirm.
“Maybe we ended up in another cavern, beneath the earth?” Hopper asked, “I dunno. Serrano, you’re the scientist.”

Serrano remained silent, looking at the somber blue hue surrounding us.
“Well, if we’re in a cavern then it has to lead somewhere.” Compton said, “Maybe we can find a way out, or at least get a better idea as to where we are.”

I shone my phone's flashlight upwards, looking for a hole in the ceiling we could have fallen through. I saw nothing save for a few pieces of broken stone embedded in the ice. The shape of it reminded me of the temple we’d been in but I couldn’t say much else about it. I caught Serrano looking up at it too.
“Doc?” I asked. He looked over at me. “What do you make of this?”
“I don’t know.” He said softly, “This… This doesn’t make any sense. This area we’re in. The design is similar to the chamber we were in before. This doesn’t seem to be the same location though.”
“So what? We teleported?” Hopper asked.
“I don’t know…” Serrano replied, trailing off as he stared back up at the ceiling.

“We’ll have time to figure that out as we move.” Compton said, “If everyone’s good to go, we should get moving. The rest of the dig probably heard the collapse. They’ll be looking for us. We should move out. Maybe we can find a better place to contact them. Doesn’t seem like there’s anything for us here.”

It was hard to argue with that. I looked around at the others and saw no dissent on their faces. Compton looked ahead into the dark before he started to walk and slowly, the five of us followed him.

I don’t know just how long we walked. The frozen caverns wound and twisted in on themselves. The ice was slippery and difficult to walk on with sharp inclines to scale. I’d say we must have walked for a good few hours, with only our flashlights and that pale blue glow to guide us. Every whisper and every footstep seemed to echo in the dark and the sound of it sent shivers down my spine. Even less comforting were the footsteps and whispers that I wasn’t sure came from us… I was sure that my mind had to be playing tricks on me. But from the corner of my eye, I was sure that the shadows seemed to move. I heard low whispers echo off the walls of the glacial caverns and I don’t think I was the only one to hear them.

Hopper seemed to slow down at one point and let me walk up beside him.
“You’re hearing it too, aren’t you?” He whispered. I just gave a grim nod.
“We’re not alone down here.” Hopper said, “I think they’re following us. Not sure if they’re just curious or if they mean any harm.”
“You get a good look at them?”
“No. Captain sees ‘em too though. So does Cook, I think. Nobody else is panicking so let’s just stay frosty… But this doesn’t sit right with me. Not one bit.”

I glanced backwards. In the darkness, it was hard to tell if anything was waiting for us. A heavy shadow seemed to pass through the blue haze which made me clutch my rifle just a little bit tighter… But if something was out there, it wasn’t ready to make its move just yet.

I don’t know how much time passed before we finally stopped. Compton slowed his pace and sighed. He looked back into the darkness before gesturing for us to stop.
“Let’s take a break, Whisky.” He said, “Check your devices. Let’s see if our luck has improved any.”

We’d made brief stops to try making calls or pinging someone on the radio before but we’d had luck so far. Our final stop made no difference at all. I could see a hollow unease in Comptons eyes as he debated pressing on even further or not. Finally he shook his head.
“Set up camp. Try and get some rest.” He finally said, “We’ll sleep in shifts. McKay. Hopper. You two have first watch. Switch out in two hours. If you see anything you don’t like. Shoot it.”
“Sir yes sir.” Hopper murmured. He watched as the others tried and failed to get comfortable. I don’t know if they got any rest but there was no fire and no food to be had.

I strayed over to the far end of one of the stretch of cavern we’d camped out in. The wall was solid ice and I took out my knife to chip some of it away. It was the only source of fresh water that we really had. Hopper stood closer to the rest of the camp, staring expectantly out into the darkness and I chipped some ice away for him as well. From behind the wall, I saw a shadow moving. A long, creeping darkness on the other side, as if I were looking through a blurred window into a void. I shrank back a step, watching as the dark shape coiled and vanished. Glancing over at Hopper, I knew that he’d seen it too.

“Something is out there.” He said calmly.
“Out there?” I asked, “What the fuck do you mean by ‘out there?’”
“Well, I reckon that where we are right now is in some sort of iceberg or glacier. Would explain the ice. Ice needs water to form, right? So obviously there’s water nearby. Then of course there’s the movement on the other side of some of these walls… A fish of some sort would be my guess, judging by the way it moves.”

I stared at him, unsure whether or not I should believe a word that he said before I dismissed it. I offered him the ice I’d chipped away and watched as he popped it into his mouth.
“You think that’s what’s been following us?” I asked.
“No.” He replied plainly, “They’re about twenty feet behind us and watching us very closely.” He said. I looked over into the darkness but didn’t see anything. All the same I was sure I could feel the eyes watching me.

“I think they’re going to move soon,” He said. “This is just the calm before the storm.”
“Why not shoot them?” I asked.
“Cuz I don’t know for sure if they’re gonna move and I don’t know how many of them there are. You wanna pick a fight with some folks you can’t see and don’t know anything about, be my guest. But trust me, it’s not a good idea.”

I stared into the darkness, knowing that he had a point. All the same I was tempted to just start shooting. I didn’t. But I was tempted to.

It was less than an hour before they came and when they did, they came in force. We didn’t have much warning. One moment, all was quiet. The caverns were dark. Then came the light of torches in the shadows around us. I was with Hopper when I saw them and he clutched his rifle close, ready to fire when they made their move.

In the dim light I could see their pale masked faces with snarling fangs and ice blue eyes. There were more of them than I could count and they were inching closer to us, spears at the ready. Hopper raised his rifle but he didn’t fire. I held my own gun at the ready as I backed up towards Compton and nudged him with my boot.
“Captain, we’ve got trouble!”

I saw Compton sit up, groggy and uncomfortable before his eyes widened. He was on his feet immediately, going for his own rifle and taking aim at the advancing figures but like Hopper, he didn’t fire. There were far too many of them. If they rushed us, I don’t think we’d have survived.
“Hopper?” He called as I gave Blake a hard kick to wake him up. I was a little more gentle with Cook.
“Who the hell are these people?” Compton asked as he scrambled to his feet.
“Local population from the looks of it.” Hopper said, “Permission to engage, sir?”
“You need to ask? Lig-”
“Wait!”

The dissenting voice came from Serrano. He ran in front of Compton, putting a hand on his rifle and forcing it down. His glasses were askew from his nap and his hair was a mess.
“Don’t shoot! They just seem curious!”
“They’ve got spears pointed at us, Doctor. This doesn’t look like curiosity to me!”
“And archers near the back who haven’t fired yet.” Serrano added, “Captain, please. Hold your fire! I don’t think they’re here to hurt us.”

I could see Compton hesitating as Blake and Cook got up as well. He gritted his teeth and swore under his breath.
“Stand down.” He finally said. “Keep your guns up. But nobody fire a shot until they shoot first.”
“I don’t think they’re gonna give us the courtesy of shooting back…” Blake murmured but he was ignored.

The masked figures stopped a few feet away from us, spears at the ready. Serrano held his hands up in a gesture of surrender before looking over at Compton.
“Captain, please lower your weapons!”
“They can lower theirs first.” Compton replied harshly.

One of the masked figures in front of us spoke. I didn’t recognize the language. The words seemed to slur together into something unintelligible. In the pale light I saw Serrano’s eyes light up. He opened his mouth and said something. It sounded like Italian. My grasp on the language wasn’t the best but as far as I can tell, he said: ‘We are lost. Can you help?’

The figures before us murmured amongst themselves and I saw a look of unease on Comptons face.
“You can speak to them?”
“I-I think so!” Serrano stammered, “I recognized some words. It’s rough but it’s definitely Italian. I think I heard Latin too… Let me…”

He cleared his throat and said something in what I presume to be Latin. I don’t know if the figures before us understood him but they at least tried to reply back.
“What’s he saying?” Compton asked.
“They can show us a way out but there is a cost to be paid.” Serrano said.
“Cost? What cost?”

Serrano tried speaking again, sounding out his words carefully. The figure before us replied again.
“I… I don’t understand the word he’s using.” Serrano said, “I just know that there’s a debt.”
“We can figure it out when we get out of here.” Blake said, “If they’ve got a way out let’s just take them up on the offer!”
Compton gritted his teeth, before he sighed.

“Tell them we’ll pay whatever toll we have to.” He said and Serrano relayed the information. Some of the masked figures finally lowered their spears. A few others kept them at the ready but I still felt a wave of relief wash over me. At least we seemed to have reached some sort of truce.

One of the masked figures spoke and gestured for us to follow. Serrano didn’t need to translate that. Compton moved forwards,tense and wary but he let the figures lead him into the darkness.
“Dr. Serrano. With me.” He said, “Whisky. Stay sharp. Let’s not piss our hosts off but keep your guard up.”
I stayed close to Serrano as we were led back the way we came from.

“Since we’re all friends now. Can you ask them where the hell we are?” I asked.
“I can try.” Serrano offered before attempting to relay my question. One of the masked figures looked back at him before giving their answer. I saw Serrano’s brow furrowed in confusion.
“What did he say?”
“Damnation…” Serrano said, “He says we’re on the edge of damnation.”
“Well that’s not terrifying at all.” Blake murmured. Compton shushed him. The masked figure continued to speak.
“We’ve arrived at the waystation for the Lost. The land of the…” He paused.
“The land of the what?” I asked.
“The Vast Serpent, I think? That doesn’t make sense…"
“Howso?”
“Well, in some early cultures the Vast Serpent was a powerful entity who was struck down from Godhood and given rule over the underworld.” Serrano said, “Sort of like a pre-christian Satanic archetype… Remember that carving on the roof of the chamber we were in before the explosion? That was a depiction of the Serpent.”
“So what? We’re in hell?” I asked.
“Well… At least in an underworld of some sort.” Serrano replied. “But that doesn’t make sense…”

As we walked, I saw more figures lining the walls of ice. They stood vigilant, their spears at their sides as we passed by them and up ahead I spotted a wooden platform with thick ropes rising up into the darkness above. We were herded onto the platform as some of the masked figures began to pull on the rope and made the old thing rise.
“Well, at least we’re going up…” I murmured. “Maybe we’ll at least get a signal and get this lost tribe shit over with.”
Serrano only gave a half nod and looked up apprehensively into the darkness.

A sliver of bright light appeared above us. I could feel its warmth on my face. Daylight! It had to be daylight, right? We all looked up as the doors above us opened and exposed us to deep blue sky with wispy purple clouds above us.

A cold wind blew against my face as the hand operated elevator raised us up to our final destination and my heart sank in my chest as I saw where we’d ended up. We were on the surface, that much I was sure of. But I was confident that we were not anywhere near Italy. White snow covered the glacial ground. Wooden huts were built into the snowy landscape and large bonfires were built to provide warmth. Strange figures in masks moved about their business. Some glanced our way but they didn’t seem to pay us much mind overall. They looked human enough… yet those snarling masks made me feel uneasy.

The masked man who had led us topside gestured that we continue to follow him and said something to Serrano.
“What now?” Compton asked.
“He’s taking us to the Elder, I think. Then I suppose we’ll need to choose.”
“Choose?” I asked.
It was Hopper who answered that. His gaze had been fixated on something in the distance.
“Isn’t it obvious?” He said, “Choose who we’re going to sacrifice.”

I followed his gaze out towards the edge of the village when I saw what he saw. At first, I thought it was a gallows but it was too large and it looked far too much like a crane that would have stretched over the water. From the rope on the end, I saw two things dangling in the wind. It took me a moment to realize that they were the frostbitten arms of the previous victim. I remembered the massive shape I’d seen moving on the other side of the ice and felt an uneasy chill run down my spine.

The masked figure who had led us to the village stared at us in silence but his companions kept their spears trained on us. I could see figures that I knew to be archers at a distance, ready to end us if we made a move they didn’t like. Sure, they’d brought us into their home but we were anything but welcome. The masked man before us spoke and Serrano quietly offered his translation.
“They’d like us to relinquish our weapons.” He said.

I saw Compton staring at the distant archers, quietly running the odds in his head. Sure, we could try and fight our way out… But we’d burn through our ammo in no time and there’d still be countless more of the masked figures. There was no way to cover our retreat. We were on a giant iceberg after all and we had no resources.
“Give them your rifles.” He finally said, with a specific emphasis on the word ‘rifles.’
He handed his own to the masked figure before us but he didn’t touch the sidearm in its holster on his hip. The masked figure didn’t seem to notice it. Hopper and I gave up our weapons next, followed by Cook and at last, Blake. The masked figure spoke again and turned away, coaxing us deeper into his village.
It was time to choose our sacrifice.

submitted by HeadOfSpectre to nosleep [link] [comments]

How to play different variants of Poker online?

The online gaming industry has been booming for a decade. One of the most popular online games is Poker. The best part is, Poker offers different variants of the game to provide choice and versatility to the players. If you want to know how to play Poker, you can find here the different variants of the game.
Here, we will discuss how to play different variants of the game online.
Texas Hold'em
Starting with the most popular poker variant, Texas Hold 'em. In this game, it is essential to know what's a royal flush in Poker, betting structure and rules. Here are some useful insights for you:
Limit Poker
In the Limit Poker type, you can make four bets at the max, in any of the betting rounds of Raise, Re-raise, final Raise, etc. In Limit variant of Texas, both the bet and the raise are pre-decided.
Pot Limit
As per this type, you can raise a bet that matches the total amount available in the pot. To explain further, if the pot amount is 100, and the first player bets 40, then the second player can bet a total of 60. In the Pot limit, the number you can raise is as much as you can.
No Limit
In No-Limit game, there is no limit on the bet. You can make any amount of bet in any of the rounds; you can raise an entire stack too.
Main and side pots
One of the crucial things to know here is the main pot and side pot. If a player exhausts all his chips, he does not need to fold his cards. After all-in, the pot is divided into two, called as the main pot and a side pot. If many players go for all-In, then there can be many side pots.
The Omaha
If you are wondering how to play poker game of Omaha, then here you can acquaint yourself with the basics of the game. In this game, the dealer gives four pocket cards or hole cards to the players. You need to make combinations by just two out of the four pocket cards and three of the five given community cards. If you can make the best hand ranking of a 5-card hand, you can win the pot.
Unlike other games, in Omaha High/Low, along with the best-ranking hand, you can even make the most of the game by making the lowest ranking hand. In this game, the pot can be divided equally between the player having the highest rank and the player having the lowest rank.
Seven-card Stud
In this classic variant, players are given seven cards. The game starts with the players contributing a fixed amount to the pot, called ante. Then comes the Third street, in which you get three cards, one as face-up. The bring-in player having the lowest exposed cards makes a bet.
Then in Fourth street, the players get card face-up. If you have the highest poker hand in shown cards, you can make a bet. Then comes the Fifth street, Sixth street, and the river or seventh street. The last round is the showdown, where the last person shows his cards.
Inference:
One of the best mind-sports – Poker is an exciting game to play. It has become even more fascinating due to the different variations of the game. You never know you can be the lucky one who has the royal flush in poker, and you can win the pot back home.
submitted by ranveerjaffrey to u/ranveerjaffrey [link] [comments]

I've Been To Hell, This Is What I Saw (Part 1)

I don’t know who found the temple. Farmers, maybe. People who didn’t know just what they’d stumbled upon. I’ll bet they just thought they’d found an interesting archeological ruin and that was it. Nothing more than ancient, crumbling stone and broken pottery. That’s what I would have expected to find in there, at least.

I was never one for digging in the dirt myself. I don’t have the patience for that kind of thing. There’s no rush of adrenaline to it. There’s nothing to make your heart race and keep you on the edge. Back before I left the military, my old CO called me self destructive and yeah, maybe he was right about that. I just like the rush. I dunno if that’s because I’ve got something to prove or if I genuinely just don’t care if I live or die. Maybe I’m just fucking crazy.

I’ve gone through FUBAR ops before and don’t get me wrong, it’s not a situation anyone wants to be in. People die. You do shit that by all rights, should leave you with nightmares. Just thinking about it makes my hands start to shake. But when the shit hits the fan, it gives you an opportunity to see what you’re really made of. Some people break. Some people take it in stride and a few of us thrive in it. I won’t say I’ve ever wanted to see an op go to shit, nobody does. I’ve seen things that have left me waking up in a cold sweat for years afterwards. But if you asked me to relive my past Ops, I’d say I’d rather relive the worst ones first because those are the ops that made me savor every beat of my racing heart.

I say all this to provide some context for everything I’m about to say. I want to make it clear that I’m not someone who scares easily. If that security gig in Italy had been your run of the mill firefight, it would have been nothing more than a happy memory. What it was, though was something I still have difficulty describing. It’s been a few months since I got back and I still can’t sleep. Every time I close my eyes I’m back there and I can hear the inhuman screams of those creatures. There are some things in this world that are not meant to be fucked with. What we found down there. What we lived through… That was one of them.

I’m aware that I’m breaking my contract by sharing this information and that after this, I can kiss my career on the circuit goodbye but honestly, I don’t fucking care. Montu Defense Services can go fuck themselves for trying to bury what we saw. My name is Corporal Jasmine McKay, I’ve been to hell and this is what I saw down there.

The temple was located in Italy, a few kilometres off the coast. I’m not exactly an archaeologist so I can’t tell you much more than that. I don’t remember what towns were close by but there was nothing big. This was about as close to the middle of nowhere as we could get. Going in, all I knew was that we were dealing with an archaeological discovery. I figured it must have been something big for someone to have hired a PMC to guard it. I didn’t think about it too much though. Money is money after all, right?

I recall hearing some of the chatter around the dig site during the early days of our deployment. Some of the folks doing the digging seemed pretty interested in the supposed age of the temple, which seemed to date back about 7 or 8 thousand years. There was mention on how the architecture didn’t seem to match with anything native to the area either. All of that admittedly was a little over my head. I didn’t bother asking questions, I just focused on my own job. As a rule, I generally didn’t socialize with the clients. I mostly stuck with my own in Fireteam Whisky.

While you were on a job with Montu, your fireteam was your family. I respected that. Ops didn’t typically go tits up but when they did, when you were in the shit, it was hard to care about the job itself. When someone starts shooting at you, the clients and their interests stop mattering. All that matters is you and your team. It grounds you, gives you something to focus on. In a way it simplifies things. Whisky was a good group of people. I’d worked with most of them before.

Captain Fred Compton was our designated team leader. He was clean cut, late thirties and no nonsense. Like me, he’d done his time as a soldier and I don’t think he really had much else to do with his life. I’d heard a few rumors about bad calls made in hot spots but I made a point not to listen to those. Compton was in charge for better or worse and frankly I’d say I’ve had worse COs.

We had two Automatic Riflemen, PFCs Calvin Blake and Allen Hopper. Blake was blonde, baby faced and about as green as you could come. For a rookie, the kid had one hell of a mouth on him but he was alright. Hopper on the other hand was a bit more seasoned. He was just about as close to a Texas stereotype as one might get. A modern cowboy looking to buy a ranch and drop off the face of the earth. It was no secret that he only cared about the money and so long as his wallet got fatter, he’d do damn near anything.

Our grenadier was a man we simply called: ‘The Cook’. I knew his actual name. Most of us did, but it’s a little harder to be taken seriously with a name like Maximus Pancake. ‘Warrant Officer Pancake’ doesn’t sound much better either and he didn’t like Max. So ‘Cook’ it was. It suited him more anyways. Cook was one bulky motherfucker but he was a gentle giant. He was a good soldier, but he wore his heart on his sleeve. If nothing else I respected him for that.

Me? I was the team's rifleman. In a combat op, I’d keep my distance and pick off tangos while Blake and Hopper laid down suppressing fire and Cook lit them up with his MGL. All in all, I can’t say we made for a bad team. We just didn’t know we’d be going into a FUBAR op. The job was just to guard a dig. That was all we were hired to do. Guard a fucking dig.

We were about two weeks into the job when everything went to shit. I can’t say anything particularly interesting had happened prior to that. The most excitement we’d had as when one of the other fireteams chased off some teenagers trying to sneak into the dig. Other than that, all was quiet. The clients did their dig and we kept watch.

I was off duty along with most of Whisky and in the compound we’d set up a short distance from the dig itself when Compton told us we were being briefed in the command tent.
“Five minutes. Be ready to move out. We’ve got work to do, Whisky.”
“Something big, Captain?” Cook asked.
“We’re about to find out.” Compton replied, “Come on. Let’s not keep the brass waiting.”
We knew better than to drag our feet.

Together we filed out of our little home away from home. The command tent was just a brisk walk away and I could hear Blake bitching the whole way there.
“The fuck have they got that’s so urgent?” He murmured.
“Just cuz it ain’t urgent to you doesn’t mean that the folks paying for our little setup here don’t think it's urgent.” Hopper replied, “Cheer up, rook. This job’s basically a vacation.”
“If this were a vacation I’d be in fucking Rome. Sexy Italian bitches, everywhere you look!”
“They generally don’t like it when you call ‘em bitches.”
Blake just scoffed in response as if Hopper didn’t know a thing or two more about women then he did.

I made it to the tent behind Compton. The brass, a middle aged suit by the name of Samuels was waiting for us along with one of the archeologists. A man by the name of Neil Serrano. I can’t say I ever learned much about him. He was in his mid thirties with meticulously styled hair and big plastic rimmed glasses. His neatly trimmed beard gave him something of a hipster vibe.

The Brass waited until we were all inside before he started.
“At ease, Whisky. This here is Dr. Serrano. I’m sure you’ve seen him around before.”
Serrano just cracked a shy smile and raised his hand in a polite wave.
“The supervisors of this dig have decided to permit Dr. Serrano to start moving deeper into the ruins they’ve uncovered. This is where you come in. There’s a blockage in a chamber leading to the lower levels of the ruins. That needs to be cleared away. After that, you’ll be escorting Dr. Serrano through the lower levels. Any questions?”

I raised a hand.
“With all due respect sir, why is a full fireteam being sent in as an escort?”
“Dr. Serrano, you made the request.” The brass said, looking expectantly over at him.
“Yes, well… We don’t exactly know what’s down there past the blockage.” Serrano said a bit sheepishly. “While I’m not anticipating anything down there. I am concerned by the possibility that we may disturb some local wildlife. Bears, mountain lions. It’s possible they may have found another entrance and are down there.”

“Bears?” Blake asked, cracking a smile. A glare from Compton discouraged him from any further comment.
“We’re there as a safety precaution.” The Captain said, “Cook, stop by the armory. Get everything you need for a demolitions op. The rest of you, standard operating procedure.”
“Yes sir!” Came the replies. Blake sounded just a little less enthusiastic.

As we geared up, I could still hear Blake whining about the op.
“They’re outfitting a full fucking fireteam to go into a hole? The fuck do they need the full team for?”
“We work as a unit, rookie.” I said, “That’s just how it is.”
“Yeah but for this? I’m not the only one who thinks this is a waste of time, right?”
I just picked up my standard issue carbine and pushed past him. Cook looked over at me, shaking his head as he finished outfitting himself.

We moved out less than twenty minutes after the briefing, following Serrano to the ruins. Blake had the good sense not to run his mouth off in front of the doctor at least. The exterior of the temple was nothing particularly interesting. It was little more than a narrow cave. I had to duck my head to get inside as I followed Compton and Serrano inside. During the weeks I’d been there, I had yet to actually enter the temple yet. I wasn’t sure what to expect inside.

Time hadn’t been kind to the ruins. I’d expected something more ornate and impressive. Instead, I just saw broken remnants of stone architecture carved into broken walls. A few artificial lights had been installed but they were barely enough to see by.
“Cook, move on ahead.” Compton said and I had to push myself against one of the walls for Cook to get past me.
“The blockage is just down this hallway, at the end of the chamber.” Serrano said. He gestured for Cook to follow him. “You’ve got the charges, right?”
“Should we be inside when he blows those things?” Blake asked, “Seems kinda hazardous.”

Compton opened his mouth to reply before he paused. Blake had a point.
“Rookies got a point. Cook, you good on your own?”
“I’ve got it handled!” Cook called back. “Doc, I’ll rig the charges but when I’m done we should both get clear. I don’t think I’ve got enough to bring this place down but I don’t wanna chance getting trapped in a cave in.”
“Right, right. You’re the boss!” Serrano assured him. Compton gestured for us to file out and we did. I could hear Serrano speaking to Cook faintly in the distance but not the specifics of what was said.

It was a few minutes before both Cook and Serrano filed out of the cave and a few minutes later before we heard the blast. Dust flew out of the ruins and we waited quietly to see if the cavern would collapse. I can’t say I was particularly surprised when it didn’t. Compton stared into the darkness as the dust settled. He looked over at us, eyes focusing on Blake.
“Blake, Cook. Take point. Let’s see if the debris is cleared.”
“Wait, what? Why me?” Blake protested as Cook started inside without a word.
“Because, if something came out there, I don’t want Cook handling it alone. Move out.”

Blake swore under his breath before following Cook inside. For a few moments, I could hear his faint complaining before Cooks voice cut through the darkness.
“Blockage is clear! Looks like it’s safe to keep moving.”
I could see Serrano’s eyes light up. He was the first one back in that cave and he moved with all the enthusiasm of a kid on Christmas. Compton followed him with Hopper and I behind him.

The dust hung heavy in the air as we moved through the ruins of the temple. I could see Cook up ahead, standing in front of a fresh hole where there used to be rubble. Now I could see stone stairs leading down into the darkened earth. They looked far better preserved than the rest of the ruins around us.
“This is it!” I heard Serrano say. “This is really it! We’re through!”
He stood over the stairs, almost quaking in excitement as he began his descent.
“Doctor, wait!” Compton called but Serrano didn’t listen. He made his way down the darkened stairs, turning on his flashlight as he went. Compton just sighed in frustration.
“McKay, Blake. Move up. Keep an eye on him. We’re right behind you.”
“Yes sir.” I said quietly. I felt a familiar surge of excitement as I started down the stone stairs with Blake behind me.

I didn’t expect there to be any light aside from our flashlights. I was wrong. I caught little glimmers of a blueish green glow on some of the walls. On inspection, I noticed little flowers that looked like nothing I’d seen before growing out of cracks in the rock. Their color seemed to shift from vibrant pinks to green and blue.
“Stinks down here…” I heard Blake murmur. I noticed the smell as well. Sickly sweet and musky.
Up ahead, I could see that Serrano had reached an ending in the stairwell and I moved down to catch up with him.

The chamber that the stairwell opened into was large and well preserved. It had a massive domed ceiling that loomed over us and I could hear my footsteps echoing inside. In the center of the room was a massive pedestal that Serrano stood over.
“This is amazing…” He said under his breath. His flashlight shone on the domed ceiling above us, “Can you believe we’re likely the first people to set foot here in… God… At least five thousand years, maybe even more!”

Looking up at the ceiling, I saw images engraved into the stone. There was one of what looked to be a bipedal wolf. It wore a long robe and seemed to have a feather by its head.
“What the hell is this place?” I murmured.
“Judging by the diagrams, it seems to have been a way for the builders of this temple to contact their Gods.” Serrano said. “I’ve seen some of these markings before. These are ancient entities… Some even predating the earliest known Gods!”
“Wouldn’t that make them the earliest known Gods, then?” Blake asked. Serrano's flashlight shifted to illuminate a carving of a face near the top of the chamber. The face looked skeletal with sunken eyes and a wide, predatory grin. Eight horns surrounded the face. Two on the top, two on the bottom and two on each side.

“If that's their God, I’m happy they died out.” I murmured as Serrano looked down at the pedestal.
“This must have been how they summoned them.” He murmured and reached out to touch it.
“I don’t think I need to tell you to be careful with that, Dr. Serrano.” Compton said as he, Cook and Hopper descended the final steps of the temple.
“It’s fine, I know what I’m doing!” Serrano promised. He held his flashlight in his mouth as he fiddled with the pedestal and Cook drew nearer to him to watch what he was doing. I could hear the heavy shifting of ancient stone before the ground beneath me started to shake.
“The fuck is that?” Blake called. Old dust and cracked stone fell from the domed ceiling.
“Earthquake!” I replied, “From the explosives, maybe?”
In the beam from my flashlight, I saw Comptons eyes go wide.
“Move! We’re going back up!” He called. “Dr. Serrano, leave the pedestal!”

Serrano looked up at him, I couldn’t read the expression on his face and frankly, I didn’t linger on it for long. A massive stone ring moved along the domed ceiling and up towards the demonic face in the center. I could see a second ring on the other side of the room moving up to do the same. Its trajectory cut off Comptons retreat towards the stairs and he froze dead in his tracks. The rings rose up and intersected beneath the carving and I saw a pillar of blinding white light erupt from the rings to the pillar. Compton froze, just a few seconds as the ground shook again, more violently this time. I don’t think any of us had time to react.
The last thing I remember before the explosion was Cook's voice, shouting: “RUN!”
Then came the deafening roar as the light overtook us and after that… darkness.

I was sure that I was dead. All I could see was darkness and the air around me was freezing cold. I was sure that we’d triggered a collapse and now I was dead. What a sorry way to go, right? After all the stupid shit I’d done, the bad ops, the pointless thrill seeking. All of that. I died in a fucking cave in. It seemed funny at the time. Funny enough for me to laugh at and I did laugh.

That laughter echoed back at me, and hearing it, I started to second guess whether or not I really was dead. Maybe it was just my imagination, but… I heard shuffling beside me. A groan that sounded a lot like Hopper. I flexed my fingers, feeling my aching body and realizing that somehow, I’d survived whatever had happened.
“Status report…” I heard Compton rasp. “McKay? Cook? Dr. Serrano?”

“Compton?” I called back as I slowly started to pick myself up. The ground beneath me was as cold as ice. Looking around, I saw that I wasn’t in complete darkness. There was a pale blue glow around me. It was enough to make out five other dark figures.
“I’m here.” Hopper called.
“Me too.” Said Cook.
“Jesus Christ, what the fuck happened?” And there was Blake.

Hopper turned on his flashlight, offering a little more light to see by. I could see Serrano on the ground nearby, slowly picking himself up. Cook offered him a hand to help him up.
“Did the chamber collapse?” Hopper asked, “Where are we? Why’s it so fuckin’ cold?”
I heard the crackle of Comptons radio as he tried to turn it on.
“This is Fireteam Whisky, does anyone read me?”
No response. There was only static.

“This is Captain Fred Compton from Fireteam Whisky. Does anyone read me? Please respond.”
Still nothing.
“Anyone got a cell phone or something?” Hopper asked. “Could be the radio is down.”
“I’ve got mine.” I offered as I fished it out of a pocket. I still had power but no signal. I could see Blake checking his own phone and swearing under his breath. He turned on his phone's flashlight instead.

“I got nothing!” He called, “Christ, did we get buried alive down here? How the fuck are we going to get out?”
“I don’t think we’re buried…” Cook murmured. He’d knelt down and had a hand on the floor.
“This is ice… Why would there be ice if we were buried?”
“Ice?” Compton asked. He looked down at the floor and pressed a hand to it to confirm.
“Maybe we ended up in another cavern, beneath the earth?” Hopper asked, “I dunno. Serrano, you’re the scientist.”

Serrano remained silent, looking at the somber blue hue surrounding us.
“Well, if we’re in a cavern then it has to lead somewhere.” Compton said, “Maybe we can find a way out, or at least get a better idea as to where we are.”

I shone my phone's flashlight upwards, looking for a hole in the ceiling we could have fallen through. I saw nothing save for a few pieces of broken stone embedded in the ice. The shape of it reminded me of the temple we’d been in but I couldn’t say much else about it. I caught Serrano looking up at it too.
“Doc?” I asked. He looked over at me. “What do you make of this?”
“I don’t know.” He said softly, “This… This doesn’t make any sense it’s like… This area we’re in. The design is somewhat similar to the chamber we were in before. This doesn’t seem to be the same location though.”
“So what? Are you saying we teleported?” Hopper asked.
“I don’t know…” Serrano replied, trailing off as he stared back up at the ceiling.

“Well, we’ll have time to figure that out as we move.” Compton said, “If everyone’s good to go, we should get moving. The rest of the dig probably heard the collapse. They’ll be looking for us. We should move out. Maybe we can find a better place to contact them. Either way. Doesn’t seem like there’s anything for us here.”

It was hard to argue with that. I looked around at the others and saw no dissent on their faces. Compton looked ahead into the dark before he started to walk and slowly, the five of us followed him.

I don’t know just how long we walked. The frozen caverns seemed to wind and twist in on themselves. The ice was slippery and difficult to walk on and there were some inclines that needed to be scaled.

I’d say we must have walked for a good few hours, with only our flashlights and that pale blue glow to guide us. Every whisper and every footstep seemed to echo in the darkness and the sound of it sent shivers down my spine. Even less comforting were the footsteps and whispers that I wasn’t sure came from us…

I was sure that my mind had to be playing tricks on me. But from the corner of my eye, I was sure that the shadows seemed to move. I heard low whispers echo off the walls of the glacial caverns and I don’t think I was the only one to hear them.

Hopper seemed to slow down at one point and let me walk up beside him.
“You’re hearing it too, aren’t you?” He whispered. I just gave a grim nod.
“We’re not alone down here.” Hopper said, “I think they’re following us. Not sure if they’re just curious or if they mean any harm.”
“You get a good look at them?”
“No. Captain sees ‘em too though. So does Cook, I think. Nobody else is panicking so let’s just stay frosty… But this doesn’t sit right with me. Not one bit.”

I glanced backwards. In the darkness, it was hard to tell if anything was waiting for us. A heavy shadow seemed to pass through the blue haze which made me clutch my rifle just a little bit tighter… But if something was out there, it wasn’t ready to make its move just yet.

I don’t know how much time passed before we finally stopped. Compton slowed his pace and sighed. He looked back into the darkness before gesturing for us to stop.
“Let’s take a break, Whisky.” He said, “Check your devices. Let’s see if our luck has improved any.”

We’d made brief stops to try making calls or pinging someone on the radio before but we’d had luck so far. Our final stop made no difference at all. I could see a hollow unease in Comptons eyes as he debated pressing on even further or not. Finally he shook his head.
“Let’s set up camp. Try and get some rest.” He finally said, “We’ll sleep in shifts. McKay. Hopper. You two have first watch. Switch out in two hours. If you see anything you don’t like. Kill it dead.”
“Sir yes sir.” Hopper murmured. He watched as the others tried and failed to get comfortable. I don’t know if they got any rest but there was no fire and no food to be had.

I strayed over to the far end of one of the stretch of cavern we’d camped out in. The wall was solid ice and I took out my knife to chip some of it away. It was the only source of fresh water that we really had. Hopper stood closer to the rest of the camp, staring expectantly out into the darkness and I chipped some ice away for him as well.

Then from behind the wall, I saw a shadow moving. A long, creeping darkness on the other side, as if I were looking through a blurred window into a void. I shrank back a step, watching as the dark shape coiled and vanished. Glancing over at Hopper, I knew that he’d seen it too.

“Something is out there.” He said calmly.
“Out there?” I asked, “What the fuck do you mean by ‘out there?’”
“Well, I reckon that where we are right now is in some sort of iceberg or glacier. Would explain the ice. Ice needs water to form, right? So obviously there’s water nearby. Then of course there’s the movement on the other side of some of these walls… A fish of some sort would be my guess, judging by the way it moves.”

I stared at him, unsure whether or not I should believe a word that he said before I dismissed it. I offered him the ice I’d chipped away and watched as he popped it into his mouth.
“You think that’s what’s been following us?” I asked.
“No.” He replied plainly, “They’re about twenty feet behind us and watching us very closely.” He said. I looked over into the darkness but didn’t see anything. All the same I was sure I could feel the eyes watching me.

“I think they’re going to move soon,” He said. “This is just the calm before the storm.”
“Why not shoot them, then?” I asked.
“Cuz I don’t know for sure if they’re gonna move and I don’t know how many of them there are. You wanna pick a fight with some folks you can’t see and don’t know anything about, be my guest. But trust me, it’s not a good idea.”

I stared into the darkness, knowing that he had a point. All the same I was tempted to just start shooting. I didn’t. But I was tempted to.

It was less than an hour before they came and when they did, they came in force. We didn’t have much warning. One moment, all was quiet. The caverns were dark. Then came the light of torches in the shadows around us. I was with Hopper when I saw them and he clutched his rifle close, ready to fire when they made their move.

In the dim light I could see their pale masked faces with snarling fangs and ice blue eyes. There were more of them than I could count and they were inching closer to us, spears at the ready. Hopper raised his rifle but he didn’t fire. I held my own gun at the ready as I backed up towards Compton and nudged him with my boot.
“Captain, we’ve got trouble!”

I saw Compton sit up, groggy and uncomfortable before his eyes widened. He was on his feet immediately, going for his own rifle and taking aim at the advancing figures but like Hopper, he didn’t fire. There were far too many of them. If they rushed us, I don’t think we’d have survived.
“Hopper?” He called as I gave Blake a hard kick to wake him up. I was a little more gentle with Cook.
“Who the hell are these people?” Compton asked as he scrambled to his feet.
“Local population from the looks of it.” Hopper said, “Permission to engage, sir?”
“You needed to ask? Light ‘em u-”
“Wait!”

The dissenting voice came from Serrano. He ran in front of Compton, putting a hand on his rifle and forcing it down. His glasses were askew from his nap and his hair was a mess.
“Don’t shoot! They just seem curious!”
“They’ve got spears pointed at us, Doctor. This doesn’t look like curiosity to me!”
“And archers near the back who haven’t fired yet.” Serrano added, “Captain, please. Hold your fire! I don’t think they’re here to hurt us.”

I could see Compton hesitating as Blake and Cook got up as well. He gritted his teeth and swore under his breath.
“Stand down.” He finally said. “Keep your guns up. But nobody fire a shot until they shoot first.”
“I don’t think they’re gonna give us the courtesy of shooting back…” Blake murmured but he was ignored.

The masked figures stopped a few feet away from us, spears at the ready. Serrano held his hands up in a gesture of surrender before looking over at Compton.
“Captain, please lower your weapons!”
“They can lower theirs first.” Compton replied harshly.

One of the masked figures in front of us spoke. I didn’t recognize the language. The words seemed to slur together into something unintelligible. In the pale light though, I saw Serrano’s eyes light up. He opened his mouth and said something. It sounded like Italian. My grasp on the language wasn’t the best but as far as I can tell, he said: ‘We are lost. Can you help?’

The figures before us murmured amongst themselves and I saw a look of unease on Comptons face.
“You can speak to them?”
“I-I think so!” Serrano stammered, “I recognized some words. It’s rough but it’s definitely Italian. I think I heard Latin too… I… Let me…”

He cleared his throat and said something in what I presume to be latin. I don’t know if the figures before us understood him but they at least tried to reply back.
“What’s he saying?” Compton asked.
“They can show us a way out but there is a cost to be paid.” Serrano said.
“Cost? What cost?”

Serrano tried speaking again, sounding out his words carefully. The figure before us replied again.
“I… I don’t understand the word he’s using.” Serrano said, “I just know that there’s a debt.”
“We can figure it out when we get out of here.” Blake said, “If they’ve got a way out let’s just take them up on the offer!”
Compton gritted his teeth, before he sighed.

“Tell them we’ll pay whatever toll we have to.” He said and Serrano relayed the information. Some of the masked figures finally lowered their spears. A few others kept them at the ready but I still felt a wave of relief wash over me. At least we seemed to have reached some sort of truce.

One of the masked figures spoke and gestured for us to follow. Serrano didn’t need to translate that. Compton moved forwards,tense and wary but he let the figures lead him into the darkness.
“Dr. Serrano. With me.” He said, “Whisky. Stay sharp. Let’s not piss our hosts off but keep your guard up.”
I stayed close to Serrano as we were led back the way we came from.

“Since we’re all friends now. Can you ask them where the hell we are?” I asked.
“I can try.” Serrano offered before attempting to relay my question. One of the masked figures looked back at him before giving their answer. I saw Serrano’s brow furrowed in confusion.
“What did he say?”
“Damnation…” Serrano said, “He says we’re on the edge of damnation.”
“Well that’s not terrifying at all.” Blake murmured. Compton shushed him. The masked figure continued to speak.

“We’ve arrived at the waystation for the Lost. The land of the…” He paused.
“The land of the what?” I asked.
“The Vast Serpent, I think? That doesn’t make sense though…”
“Howso?”
“Well, in some early cultures the Vast Serpent was a powerful entity who was struck down from Godhood and given rule over the underworld.” Serrano said, “Sort of like a pre-christian Satanic archetype… Remember that carving on the roof of the chamber we were in before the explosion? That was a depiction of the Serpent.”
“So what? They think we’re in hell?” I asked.
“Well… At least in an underworld of some sort.” Serrano replied. “But that doesn’t make sense…”

As we walked, I saw more figures lining the walls of ice. They stood vigilant, their spears at their sides as we passed by them and up ahead I spotted a wooden platform with thick ropes rising up into the darkness above. We were herded onto the platform as some of the masked figures began to pull on the rope and made the old thing rise.
“Well, at least we’re going up…” I murmured. “Maybe we’ll at least get a signal and get this lost tribe shit over with.”
Serrano only gave a half nod and looked up apprehensively into the darkness.

A sliver of bright light appeared above us. I could feel its warmth on my face. Daylight! It had to be daylight, right? We all looked up as the doors above us opened and exposed us to deep blue sky with wispy purple clouds above us.

A cold wind blew against my face as the hand operated elevator raised us up to our final destination and my heart sank in my chest as I saw where we’d ended up. We were on the surface, that much I was sure of. But I was confident that we were not anywhere near Italy.

White snow covered the glacial ground. Wooden huts were built into the snowy landscape and large bonfires were built to provide warmth. Strange figures in masks moved about their business. Some glanced our way but they didn’t seem to pay us much mind overall. They looked human enough… yet those snarling masks made me feel uneasy.

The masked man who had led us topside gestured that we continue to follow him and said something to Serrano.
“What now?” Compton asked.
“H-he’s taking us to the Elder, I think. Then I suppose we’ll need to choose.”
“Choose?” I asked, “Choose what?”
It was Hopper who answered that. His gaze had been fixated on something in the distance.
“Isn’t it obvious?” He said, “Choose who we’re going to sacrifice.”

I followed his gaze out towards the edge of the village when I saw what he saw. At first, I thought it was a gallows but it was too large and it looked far too much like a crane that would have stretched over the water. From the rope on the end, I saw two things dangling in the wind. It took me a moment to realize that they were the frostbitten arms of the previous victim.

I remembered the massive shape I’d seen moving on the other side of the ice and felt an uneasy chill run down my spine.

The masked figure who had led us to the village stared at us in silence but his companions kept their spears trained on us. I could see figures that I knew to be archers at a distance, ready to end us if we made a move they didn’t like. Sure, they’d brought us into their home but we were anything but welcome. The masked man before us spoke and Serrano quietly offered his translation.
“They’d like us to relinquish our weapons.” He said.

I saw Compton staring at the distant archers, quietly running the odds in his head. Sure, we could try and fight our way out… But we’d burn through our ammo in no time and there’d still be countless more of the masked figures. There was no way to cover our retreat. We were on a giant iceberg after all and we had no resources.
“Whisky. Give them your rifles.” Compton finally said. He put a specific emphasis on the word ‘rifles.’

He handed his own over to the masked figure before us but he didn’t touch the sidearm in its holster on his hip. The masked figure didn’t seem to notice it. Hopper and I gave up our weapons next, followed by Cook and at last, Blake. The masked figure spoke again and turned away, coaxing us deeper into his village.

It was time to choose our sacrifice.
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